'So You Think You Can Dance': Giddy-up
All right, this is getting old. Another week, another injury on “So You Think You Can Dance.” Is it just bad luck, or are the dancers perhaps being pushed too hard this season? This time it was Billy Bell, who hurt his knee during rehearsals. Nigel Lythgoe gave the impression that Billy’s injury is not serious and that he should be able to bounce back by next week, but we’ll see. Perhaps Cat Deeley could have lent him the Ace bandage material that made up the bottom layer of her dress? I’m just looking for an opportunity to mention how much I disliked her dress Wednesday. Usually I love Cat’s sartorial flights of fancy, but this one looked like a big red garbage bag on top of an unattractive flesh-colored slip.
Lauren and Twitch kicked off the episode with a Nappytabs Wild West-themed hip-hop routine. I thought Lauren really held her own through the dance: The choreography was impressive, and she hit her moves hard (and I loved her costume, which reminded me of a hip-hop version of what Madonna wore in her “Don’t Tell Me” music video. Props to the show’s costume designer, Soyon An, for her recent Emmy win. You can read an interview I conducted with her last year, "The Fanciful Creations of Costume Designer Soyon An.") The judges loved the dance, and that included guest judge Kenny Ortega, who seems like a nice enough person, but I didn’t think he really added much, and I suspect that he was just brought on to help fill in the two hours of the episode.
Jose and Allison performed a Sonya Tayeh contemporary routine that took place on the edge of the stage. It was sweet and rather understated for Sonya, which Mia Michaels interpreted as “pedestrian,” meaning that the dance utilized gestures more than technical ability. I happened to be watching “SYTYCD” on Wednesday with a group of friends (which is the most fun way to watch it), and one of my cohorts opined at this point that Mia just talks to hear herself talk. However, Nigel agreed with her, saying that, although the dance was fine and Jose was endearing, Sonya helped cover up his weaknesses.
I wonder how Lauren feels about the male dancers all objectifying her booty this season? It happened again as Robert performed a sexy Tyce Diorio jazz routine with her. I wouldn’t have guessed it was a Tyce routine, especially with Robert licking Lauren’s leg, but it was a strong and sensual dance, which one of my friends described as reminiscent of the movie “9½ Weeks.” The judges loved it, as did my own peanut gallery.
The next dance is where I strayed from the judges’ feedback: Kathryn and Kent performed a fun and energetic Sonya Tayeh jazz routine to the funky Janelle Monae song “Tightrope.” I thought it was an enjoyable routine (although, to discuss clothing again, I had issues with Kent’s rather dorky costume), but Mia said she was distracted by Kent’s lack of sincerity. While I agree that Kent can be cheesy at times, it wasn’t a problem for me this time. On the other hand, Nigel claimed that Kent was outdancing some of the All-Stars, a sentiment with which I strongly disagree. Sorry, Kent.
The judges were also a little more enthusiastic about the next dance than I was. Adechike and Comfort performed a Napoleon and Tabitha D'umo routine about a couple on the rocks. I enjoyed the dance, especially Comfort getting entwined in Adechike’s legs, and I thought he did a better job than usual of inhabiting the character. In general I think Tabitha and Napoleon have really stepped up their choreography this season. However, I thought Comfort pretty much stole the routine, and I thought it was a bit much when Mia called Adechike “unbelievable.” It was good, don’t get me wrong, but I didn’t think it was bordering on legendary. One of my friends also was suspicious of the sincerity of Adechike’s tears, but I am of course never that cynical.
Each of the dancers also performed a solo, prefaced by a very sweet video of their parents cheering them on. I haven’t been too excited about the contemporary dancers’ solos of late, which seem to lack a little substance, but I did like Jose’s performance: He put a little more personality than usual in his dance. Also, if for some reason Kent gets sent home Thursday, I wonder if he’ll regret dancing to “End of the Road.”
Next Robert and Lauren performed a Dmitry Chaplin samba routine. I thought Robert filled up the space more than usual and danced with sex appeal and authority, but I agreed with the judges that Lauren could still use, as Mia put it, a little more “tssss.”
I do like how this season has featured a lot more same-sex dancing, and I was excited to see Adechike and Jose’s guy-guy pasodoble: although (A), too bad there couldn’t be more girl-girl dances, and (B), funny how most of the guy dances have been about fighting. However, the dance never really took off for me, starting with what seemed like an eternity of cape twirling. I had a problem with the camerawork during the dance, as you could rarely see both guys onstage, but overall the dance felt very heavy: The judges also weren’t in love with the dance, and, as Nigel put it, there’s more to the dance than just pulling faces.
As someone whose high school featured a step team, I was psyched to see the first competitive step routine on the show (featuring the music of Chicago gal Kid Sister). Kent danced with Twitch, although I would have loved to have seen him with his original partner, Billy. I enjoyed it, but I thought Kent looked a little lost, especially next to Twitch, but the judges disagreed, claiming that Kent killed it. I guess the judges just liked Kent more than I did.
Based on overall judge feedback, I’d guess that Jose would be the one to go home Thursday night, but we’ll see: Maybe it will be yet another injury-induced elimination and the winner of the season will simply be the last dancer standing.
— Claire Zulkey
Photo: Jose Ruiz, left, Adechike Torbert, Lauren Froderman, Robert Roldan, Billy Bell and Kent Boyd. Photo credit: Mathieu Young / Fox.