Destination 'So You Think You Can Dance': Snap judgments and studio secrets
The spectacle at the “So You Think You Can Dance” studio tonight was nothing short of major. The couples were shuffled, the dancers all performed solos in addition to their partner dances, and for the first time, the voting was handed over completely to the audience. On top of all that, one of the members of the top 10 -– Jessica King –- had to drop out at the last minute! She was replaced by recently eliminated contestant Comfort Fedoke. It was a night of immense change. And nobody wanted to miss it.
Kourtni was seated in the middle of the audience, and Thayne and Matt seated toward the back. Kourtni wanted to sit with her pals, but the usher would not yield to her entreaties.
In the end, Kourtni sat where she was supposed to: beside uber-choreographer Mia Michaels. From behind, the two spiky-haired bottle blonds looked like twins.
Before the show began, stage-manager Debbie Williams surveyed the audience for signs. “Any Kherington?” She shouted. “Chelsie, Chelsie signs? Courtney?” There were barely any signs for the ladies, but Will Wingfield and Twitch Boss were well represented. “Where there’s a Will, there’s a way,” announced one posterboard.
It may have been the most anticipated show of the season, but “Dance” titan Nigel Lythgoe was dressed down this evening, wearing a simple button-down shirt in lieu of his usual blazer.
“Comfort? Comfort!” Pleaded some hopeful boys behind me. They were shocked and delighted when their guess was confirmed. Clearly, they –- and the rest of the audience at the studio -– don’t read this blog, which posted the news of Comfort’s return on Monday.
Guest of honor
After her announcement, Jessica sat in my section and watched the remainder of the show. Her sudden presence caused a momentary stir, but soon enough, we were all back to the task at hand.
During a break, as he always does, Tommy the warm-up guy summoned a pair of young girls to dance to Justin Timberlake’s “Sexy Back.” Sorry to sound like such a square, but I’ll never get used to watching prepubescent girls gyrate to the tune of “I’ll let you whip me if I misbehave.”
Mercifully, stage manger Debbie cut the display short, saying, “I’m bringin' the show back. Forget about sexy.”
There was no escaping it. Every true "Dance" fan was going to get very upset at least once during tonight’s show. For me, it came early, with Courtney Galiano and Joshua Allen’s wacky mad scientist routine.
Don’t get me wrong –- I thought the number was a blast. It’s just that Joshua and Katee Shean were my favorite couple. I was sad enough that they were breaking up this week; I certainly was not ready to see him with another woman!
Chelsie’s first misstep
She may be a hottie, but Chelsie Hightower’s first solo tonight was decidedly lukewarm. When forced to dance alone, Chelsie needs to learn to connect to the audience the way she usually connects to her partner. In other words, flirt with us a little, Chelsie!
Judges: They're just like us
Cat actually had to reshoot one of her segments tonight because the judges were giggling too loudly and distracting her. What was so funny? Apparently, Mary Murphy was still laughing at a certain memorable moment from Joshua and Courtney's routine. “She’s still talking about the spanking!” exclaimed Nigel.
Dancers often make mistakes during their performances. I know this because I have heard the choreographers in the bathroom between segments complaining about missed moves. Usually, however, the average viewer can’t tell the difference.
During Mark Kanemura and Kherington Payne’s country two-step tonight, however, a blind man could have seen that something was amiss. The twosome just looked tangled and dizzy.
Did anybody else notice Gev Manoukian’s new 'do tonight? His hair has grown, and it's sticking up in a very flattering way. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: This guy is a dark horse. He will last longer than anybody expects him to.
Also, Gev had the best line of the evening again tonight. When Cat asked him how to spin on her head, Gev replied, “just try it.”
Well, well, well
For somebody named “Comfort,” Ms. Fedoke has looked mighty uncomfortable for the bulk of the season. She never really jibed with either of her former partners, Chris Jarosz or Thayne Jasperson.
Well, tonight, when paired with Twitch Boss, it was clear that Comfort had finally found her match. And to think, she could have missed this week all together!
Just so you know…
It’s no accident that Cat looks that gorgeous. Between every segment, a team of three rushes out to brush, fluff and gloss her.
Will sing for candy
When Tommy the warm-up guy saw audience participation waning tonight, he broke out the chocolate and instructed the mosh pit group to sing “Baby Got Back.” Again. When tossing a petrified Butterfinger to an enthusiastic singer, Tommy joked, “It’s a vintage one from 1983!”
Yes, it was an exciting show, but it was also a looong one. At one point, even the rabid fans in the mosh pit succumbed to exhaustion and sat down between segments. Tommy showered them with candy to buoy their spirits. “Clap like you just graduated high school!” Insisted Tommy. He sure does know his audience.
I know that their technique was flawless out there, but was I the only one who found Katee Shean and Will Wingfield’s Broadway routine to be just plain corny?
Cat's little secret
Cat may bounce onto the stage like she’s wearing moon shoes, but her fierce stilettos are nowhere near as comfy as she makes them look. When a girl in the front row griped about her shoes tonight, Cat replied, “I feel your pain,” motioning toward her own tired tootsies.
In a class all his own
Mark Kanemura’s wackiness was never so fully on display as tonight, when he did his solo. He choreographed a style of dance so unusual and bizarre that it deserves its own class. What would you all call it?
Cat Deeley's 'love daze'
Everybody was glad to have star choreographer Lil C on the judges panel tonight, but nobody was quite as giddy about it as Cat. After Lil C called Chelsie and Gev’s contemporary routine “a love daze,” Cat couldn’t help but gush, “I love the expression, ‘a love daze.’” Sounds like Cat may have been in a love daze herself.
Who gave Mary Murphy decaf?
It was a night of few screams. Even when Chelsie and Gev wowed her with their contemporary number, Mary Murphy simply stated, “You guys. It was terrific tonight.”
'He's such a man!'
Well, if Courtney’s boyfriend didn’t get jealous when Gev fawned over her, tonight’s display oughta do it. “He’s such a man,” gushed Courtney, in reference to new partner Joshua.
My Child Beat Your Child on ‘So You Think You Can Dance’
Katee Shean’s father took proud parenting to a whole new level with his “Katee’s Dad” T-shirt tonight. (Don’t get any ideas, Dad.)
Secrets, secrets are no fun
After Kherington and Mark failed to wow with Tice Diorio’s jazz routine, Tice turned to seatmate Mia Michaels and whispered something in her ear. What do you all think he said, wise readers?
Maybe it was the fact that the studio felt colder than usual, or maybe it was the fact that Tommy’s mic seemed even louder than usual, but by the three-quarter mark, the audience was getting tired, crabby and restless. It seemed that nothing could cure the malais ... nothing, that is, except an earth-shattering futuristic hip hop routine, courtesy of Twitch and Comfort.
“I wanna see it again,” wailed a man behind me when the number came to its premature end. “All of the choreographers are standing up!” exclaimed a woman to my left. She was right. And a standing ovation from the choreographers is not easy to come by. “Comfort, you are a fighter,” Mary Murphy smiled.
And to imagine, Comfort was not even supposed to be here this week! Comfort blew a kiss to Jessica, where she watched from the audience. The mood was ecstatic; it was like the whole theater had just downed a Red Bull.
Cat and Comfort: BFF
Last week, when Comfort was eliminated, she hugged Cat Deeley like she never wanted to let go. This week, it was clear that the girlfriends were giddy at their reunion. Comfort even taught Cat a hip-hop gesture after her dance was done.
The move that shocked the studio
Kherington’s solo was normal up until the very last moment, when she bent over deeply and gave the judges a view to remember. Nigel’s face went from shock to amusement. He looked into the audience at Tice Diorio with a mischievous expression, as though there was an off-color joke he was dying to make.
I followed "buck," and most of Lil C’s unique language tonight, but when he said that Gev was “housing,” he finally lost me. What’s housing? And is it a good thing? Should I be housing?
Chelsie Hightower’s hips don’t even seem to be attached to her body. They move like one of those dashboard hula girls.
Is it just me…
Or do all of the women on the show look like they’ve lost 10 pounds since we met them?
The final moments of the show are some of the most revealing. The dancers get to freestyle dance to the theme song (which they must be really, really sick of by now) and it’s always fascinating to see who dances with whom. Comfort was having fun dancing with her new partner, Twitch, but expired twosomes Chelsie and Mark and Courtney and Gev were quick to reunite.
So, what did you all think of the new couples tonight? Love 'em? Hate 'em? Couldn't care less? Leave a comment here, and/or come chat with me this Thursday at 1 p.m., right here on the Showtracker blog. I'll be joined by "Dance" prognosticator Claire Zulkey.
-- Stephanie Lysaght