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Destination 'So You Think You Can Dance': Snap judgments and studio secrets

Judges_d2y6918 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.

For that reason, eliminated competitors Thayne Jasperson, Kourtni Lind, and Matt Dorame all tucked into the audience to watch the action.  Here are some standout moments from the studio.

Musical chairs

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. 

Sign languageTop10_d2y6891

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. 

Casual Wednesday

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.

Craving Comfort

Jessica King announced that because she had some broken ribs, she was leaving the competition. Cat Deeley sent her away with some good wishes, then asked the audience, “so, what happens now?” 

“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.

Creeped out

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.”

Courtneyjoshhiphop_u1h2775 Breaking up is hard to do

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.

New 'do

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!”

Tuckered out

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.

Kateewillbroadway_u1h3191 Go ahead.  Boo me.

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?

Greatest moment of the night. Period.Comorttwitchhiphop_u1h4018

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?

Chelsiegevjive_u1h4465 Her hips don’t lie

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. 

Till then!

-- Stephanie Lysaght

Comments () | Archives (19)

I loved Mark's solo, too, but didn't it seem like I saw him do it during Vegas week?
He is so.. wierd. I wonder how he'd come across as a choreographer himself. All-in-all, he's one of my favorites this year as a personality.

Not sure how you can write an article about last night and leave out the Desmond Richardson pas de deaux. I realize that the vibe on the street is that Katee and Will are the robodancers, still, there was some amazingly cool, beautiful stuff in that routine and Katee and Will deserve some props!

I won't be here at one, darn. Housing is literally house dancing. He was saying that the way he was bouncing during the Jive was almost like he was doing house dancing which is called housing. No hood lingo there lol.

I did love Twitch and Comfort, but poor confort just needs to get more elegant, she is trying her hardest and I love her but those hands and feet kill me. I feel like they should have paired her with a stronger personallity from the beginning like Gev Comfort and Gev that would have been hot.

I like that with Katee Will can't get all the praise, Katee makes him look like a normal good dancer. She is ridiculous!!!!! Yes Will is not my favorite he is a great dancer but, I compare him to Danny from last year who they hated, but I liked Danny's personality way better than will's his slight arrogance and air of "This won't make or break me" was hot and he was just hot and great, Will is not arrogant but he has the goody two shoes syndrome that drives me nuts. He is way more versatile than Danny.

Kherington may go home! Its another Natalie and Mousa season 2 situation.

Is it me or does Chelsea just seem like a feature dancer every week.. She doesnt even compete she just owns the god dog on stage!!

I loooooooove Mark and hate he doesnt have a chance in heck of being in the final four. I would love to see him and Twitch do a great funky male routine.

I will find and Marry Twitch he owns the stage as well, he owns this competition to me.

Courtney is definitely fighting, but katee and chelsea just dominate.

Gev is freakin adorable he so reminds me of dominic.

I am so mad Comfort is back! She is horrible - she does one style of dance well, but other than that - no versatility whatsoever. The first dance of the night, horrible. The second, great. Unless Comfort and Twitch somehow drew hip-hop style dances every week, it will soon become apparent why Comfort should've been eliminated a long time ago. To put it bluntly, she sucks. Twitch deserves a better partner, he's brilliant.

I thought the hip hop routine performed by Twitch and Comfort was the best number of the night. Kherington was boring to watch... and I agree with you on the jazz routine done by Katee and Will. Both are magnificent dancers but it was a bit boring. Go Katee & Twitch!!!!

Tonight's show was by far the best show!!! Thanks for your article -- it gives the show that extra dimension that we need. I think all the matches were good tonight except Kher and Mark -- but it was bound to happen.

I will never understand the fawning over Chelsea? Can she dance? Sure. But she is so very, very generic. Plus, she frequently comes off as the most popular girl in school who KNOWS she's popular and knows she deserves it because, you know, she's the best. But she's not.

This week's most interesting moment came after Katee and Will's pas de deux. For the very first time we saw a visibly upset Katee, knowing she missed a move early in the routine. It was revelatory because we could see what dance truly means to her and how much commitment there is behind her natural cuteness. It was wonderful and amazing to see that passion.

"What’s housing? And is it a good thing? Should I be housing?"

This cracked me up!

Found you through Blogging So You Think You Can Dance. Great recap....it's always cool to hear about things that happen behind the scenes =)

To the author: "house" is a type of dance, combining hip hop, latin and various other street dances. It emerged largely from Chicago. Type "house dance" into Wikipedia for more info. Lil C was saying that Gev was shaking his feet/legs more like you would do in house dancing, not as you should do, sinking into your hips, in a jive. If you look at the difference in the way Chelsie and Gev danced it, you can see how different his movement is from hers (hers was correct).

When he said "housing" he just refers to house dancing. You can find clips on YouTube of house dancing.. it's a predominant style of dance, dance styles often are expressed through social events/night life.. for the current era, house would be a good example among others which aren't well represented on SYTYCD... but it's embraced on America's Best Dance Crew. Also, since Gev is a b-boy it's not unusual for him to also be eclectic and know other common dance styles.. like house, or popping/locking, etc.

When Lil C' said the Gev was "Housing" at one point, he probably meant that Gev was too bouncey .He's referring to those cats who go to House clubs (certain type of electronic music; a great emblematic song in this style to check out would be nightcrawlers' "push the feelin on").

Anyway, check this YT video for a great view of some House moves: http://youtube.com/watch?v=CC4DvPgy-vk&feature=related.

All in all, I think they're working everyone too hard, from the junky costumes to the missed moves. I'm starting to feel like I'm cheering on a sweatshop. Those dancers must be so ti-ti! (that's tired.)

Mark's style could be called the monster chicken. I love the monster chicken.

Li'l C has quite the gift of metaphor though, doesn't he?
While I despise his crump crap, I think he did a bang-up job as the color commentary guest yesterday.

Are you serious? How can you write a recap and leave out the unparalleled highlight (possibly of any season but certainly of this one) - the genius choreography of the great Desmond Richardson and its brilliant execution by Will and Katee. Simply art in motion. Breathtaking!

First of all, I can't believe those of you who think Comfort doesn't have the right to be on the show right now. Not versatile?... What? Obviously you weren't there for the Bollywood rountine tonight, or the contemporary rountine...
Secondly, Mark totally has "a chance in heck" to be in the final four. Everytime I see one of his solos there's always a new element that shocks me or makes me laugh. Mark, you rock on.
And I just love all the guys right now. I'm dreading next Thursday. I don't want anymore of them to go! And Gev is totally on my hot tamale train!... Hahaha. I just had to say that.

Comfort is out of her league in everything except hip hop. Even in hip hop, her solos are sometimes good, other times iffy. I'm surprised she made the top twenty. Thank God she didn't get paired with Gev and bring him down like she brought Chris dowm. Chris had more potential and he was wrongly paired--what were they thinking? At least Gev had a chance. Then Comfort was the kiss of death to Thayne. She needs to go ASAP!

You’re all right. Desmond Richardson’s pas de deux, performed by Katee and Will, was sensational. I guess that just seemed like a given. “Another perfect one from Katee. Another perfect one from Will.” Though I do like the username, “so you think you can write.” Clever.

Cheryl Dearborne and company: You all raved about Gev in the comments section on Wednesday, but then he got the boot on Thursday! Did any of you vote?

Chelsie certainly is a hottie. Yum Yum!


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