'So You Think You Can Dance': Paying respect
So! It was a little hard to focus on tonight's show thanks to some goings-on in the showbiz world, but after a sultry Latin/hip-hop group dance choreographed by Dmitry Chaplin and Napoleon & Tabitha D'umo, "So You Think You Can Dance" executive producer Nigel Lythgoe addressed it all. He paid a classy tribute to Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and of course Michael Jackson. Of all the shows on TV right now, I think "SYTYCD" could best pay tribute to Jackson since his dancing was such a large part of his talent. I got goosebumps watching their clip of the "Thriller" video and my only complaint was that they didn't show the whole thing.
As for narrowing the dancers to the bottom three couples, it wasn't a surprise to me that two couples, Asuka Kondoh and Vitolio Jeune and Karla Garcia and Jonathan Platero, were asked to perform solos. While the judges liked Asuka and Vitolio's jazz dance, I think it was the kind of dance that didn't translate that well to the audience at home. The judges practically hated Karla and Jonathan's hip-hop routine, meanwhile, and I think America listened. The third couple put in the bottom three was Caitlin Kinney and Jason Glover, which was somewhat surprising to me: I thought the audience would have been more in favor of their paso doble. But personally I think that for a while Phillip Chbeeb is going to be a spoiler in the competition (which I have no problem with -- I just think that he's an audience favorite and that will affect things).
Before we got to the solo performances, we saw a performance from a group called the Rage Boyz Crew, which was basically a group of about 20 boys ranging in age from maybe 7 to 17 doing hip-hop en masse, wearing cute uniforms and tossing an adorable tot in the air. Host Cat Deeley clearly wanted to put the tiniest one in her pocket (if she had one in her sultry jungle-themed jumpsuit). A band called the Veronicas also performed, and for a while I thought they were the Donnas, only slimmed down to a frightening extent. The Veronicas actually seemed to sing their song, I think, which means they're a step up in terms of musical acts for the season.
Asuka kicked off the solos: I thought her ballroom routine was fine but basically I thought to myself, "If Max went home, then she should, too." The judges didn't seem to find Vitolio's solo that great, but I admire the way he uses his body onstage: He just brings life to the stage when I see him do solos. Nigel claimed that Karla was trying too hard in her solo, but I found her to be a more interesting dancer than she's been throughout the competition. I didn't find Jonathan's solo especially remarkable in terms of emotion or technique, however, and the judges agreed with me. Caitlin threw some impressive gymnastics into her solo, which the judges loved: that particular solo didn't speak to me much but I like Caitlin in the competition and hoped she'd stay. And finally, I really liked Jason's solo -- I thought it showed off elements of him that we haven't seen in the paired dancing, but Nigel thought it reeked of desperation.
In the end, though, Asuka was eliminated for not growing enough throughout the competition, and Jonathan was deemed the weakest of the boys who performed solos tonight. Sorry, girls! Now this means that Karla and Vitolio will be dancing together next week.
Tomorrow I will be chatting with Asuka and Jonathan about their time on the show: if you have any questions you'd like me to try to ask them, please let me know in the comments section.
-- Claire Zulkey