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'So You Think You Can Dance': The least exciting results show ever [Updated]

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(Claire Zulkey is out this evening, which means you get to put up with me this week. -- Todd VanDerWerff
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It was one of the few non-injury-plagued results shows on "So You Think You Can Dance" this season, but it also was chock full of filler. There were two very special musical guests, plus a performance by the cast of "Step Up 3D." I understand that all of these things appeal to the "So You Think You Can Dance" audience, but I, personally, was reaching for the remote before I remembered I was watching live and couldn't fast forward the madness. There also was plenty in the way of Nigel lecturing America, as well as one of the least suspenseful eliminations ever.

Look, Lauren is my favorite of the dancers left. She seems to be the favorite of all of the judges as well. She weds the technical proficiency the best dancers on the show have with a winning personality that might remind you of the baby-sitter you had when you were 8. She's good at pretty much whatever the show throws at her, and she's comfortable with all stars, with her fellow contestants and all by herself. The second she was in the bottom three, there was no question that Jose (who has been barely scraping by for weeks now) and Billy (who deserved to make the finals over at least Adechike) were going to be going home.

Frankly, there was no way the judges were sending Lauren home, but there also was no way they were going into the final two weeks without any girls, particularly when there are still one and arguably two (I don't mind Robert as much as some fans) pretty lackluster male dancers left. Even with this late stumble, I'd still put Lauren at the odds-on favorite to win the whole thing unless she cracks under the pressure over the next two weeks (though she should be safe next week under the same "the-judges-will-want-a-girl-around" principle).

Fortunately, tonight's episode gave us a good sense of how Lauren would rise to the occasion, and she did so splendidly. Where Jose mostly seemed to just throw himself around the stage sans rhythm or pacing or anything but a desperate attempt to get the judges to pick him over Billy or Lauren (something he must have known wasn't going to happen) and Billy performed an odd dance that made him look like a spider or something and ate up too much of his time with strange, slow movement, Lauren pulled off a rather sultry number that wedded her technical prowess to some nice moves and a hint of soul. It wasn't her finest moment ever, but it was better than the other two (though Billy's was building to something interesting when he was cut off).

Other than that, though, the whole thing was kind of beside the point. The opening group number was fun, as always, and featured Allison nicely, but the rest of the episode felt incredibly rushed, as though the producers felt the strain of getting the musical numbers all in there. [For the record: The original version of this post said that the number featured Lauren, not Allison.] And it wasn't enough to just show a shortened trailer for "Step Up 3D." There also had to be a full number featuring the dancers from the movie that, frankly, left me wanting to change channels. I know that a couple of the cast members in the movie are from the series itself, but the nice thing about a show like this is that you form relationships with the contestants, and leaving them for four or five minutes is never a good idea.

The same goes for the musical numbers, which have never been this show's strong suit. One was by the artist Christian TV, and the other was by Allison Iraheta. Neither was terribly memorable, though the Christian TV number, at least, was better than the "Step Up 3D" thing that preceded it. The thing that has made the "So You Think You Can Dance" results shows so entertaining all these years is that they feature the dancers from the show trying new things. I'm sure with all of the injuries this season, the producers are wary of having the dancers do too much beyond their routines they're already scheduled for, which is understandable, but there has to be a better way to fill the time. 

Anyway, when it all came down to it, the producers kept Lauren, as anyone could have predicted, but not until after Nigel took the time to lambaste America and/or the show's critics for any variety of sins. He also offered strange, strange farewells to Billy and Jose, and said to Billy, at one point, "We love you soaring through the air when you dance, but please keep your feet firmly on the ground in life," which makes sense but only barely. But, then again, Nigel's ramblings are a part of the show, so they're easier to tolerate. It's just too bad that we had to lose Billy this early.

In the future, then, let's hope that "So You Think You Can Dance" keeps the promotional material to a minimum and focuses on the dancers we know and love doing fun dances. And let's hope that Lauren wins the whole thing, going away.

--Todd VanDerWerff (follow me on Twitter at @tvoti)

Photo: Lauren Froderman, right, performing with Allison Holker, is the favorite to win "So You Think You Can Dance."

Credit: Fox

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Comments () | Archives (25)

Lauren didn't perform in the group dance in the beginning.

you are an idiot todd. lauren wasn't even in the opening number. way to support your fav. can't tell her apart from an all-star.

It was Allison dancing in the opening dance number, not Lauren. They eluded to something happening last night with Lauren, so she wasn't in the opening number tonight. I was hoping to find out what the deal was...

That was not Lauren in the opening number, it was Allison one of the all stars.

The dancer on the left , Allison was the one in the opening number--it ended with a similar dorky expression as she shows in the picture. Her body type, carriage & expressiveness are very different from Lauren's.
Not only didn't Lauren dance in the opening number(which ended with a long close-up of Allison looking dorky & sweating)but it was also specifically stated that Lauren didn't dance in the opening number.
Could you offer some hip hop or breakdancing related reasons that the Step Up 3D routine wasn't fun, accomplished, fast-moving and well-choreographed. Yes it was short attention span/variety, but unlike the truncated pas de deux a few weeks ago, it was a good teaser, not an out of context sliver.
I agree it's fun to see dancers you know & for me it was a thrill to see Lil C dance! I also agree the constant promos/tie ins for American Idol contestants are almost as annoying as LA local TV news celebrity promos or the Calendar section interviews of directors, actors or trumpet players art exhibits as if they would have them if they hadn't directed "Lost" or had other fame, but the number itself was lively & fun!
BTW, do you or anyone else know how to access old musical performances from SYTYCD? Billy dedicated Mika's "Happy Endings" to all this am--he knew he was going home. I didn't know who Mika was & found some videos on Utube, but not Mika's 2007 performance on SYTYCD.The Fox website seems to only have this season, unless I missed a link. I'd love to see what Mika did .
BTW Nigel's comment tonight about androgeny was almost refreshing if you could forget all of the judges harping over & over like conversion therapists that the male dancers had to act more masculine & the female dancers more feminine. The rigid gender roles enforced in so much of the choreography & fear of ambiguity is reinforced by the judges in their comments on every dance style. Billy is a strong and supple dancer. He hit it hard in several routines that called for it, including the Bollywood. Coyness, sweetness , blushing , grinning& adorableness as well as flopping & flapping is treated by them as masculine in Jose because Jose is straight. Nigel is so fixated on proving dance isn't gay that he ignores the gay hating & contributes to it.:(

Hey, guys. Was grabbing the photo at the same time and just typed the wrong name. My apologies, and I'm making the correction now.

Sorry to disappoint you but Lauren is not going to win the contest...She will probably be eliminated next week....Kent Boyd will win in a landslide....Adecheke will place second, and Robert Roldan will place third...Lauren being in the bottom 3 last night is a harbinger of how SYTYCD will terminate this season...Lauren was not very memorable on Wednesday night's show......Nobody can beat Kent....He has been the frontrunner all season and he is way ahead of everyone....You do not see in Kent what most viewers see....ALL AROUND CHARISMA and TALENT.....

Logan

I'm just happy Robert is still here! Go ROBERT!!!

Note to guest who uses the word "idiot" to describe Todd.

Todd made a mistake. No need to insult him. He posted a correction. All is well. Take it easy.

Note to moderator: how about an editorial agreement to suppress all posts that contain insults?

There's so much rudeness already in America. No need to spread more.

Have a nice day, all!

Nigel's a piece of work, As a gay man, I don't know if I'm offended when he opined that Billy lost because of his ANDROGYNOUS mannerism or relieved that he brought up the topic. But the comment, "please keep your feet firmly on the ground in life," was totally uncalled for. Why not just say, "don't be light in the loafers," and be done with it. I think GLAAD should weigh in on this. This isn't the first time that Mr. Lithgow has verged into homophobic verbal snippets.

Come on people, read closely (especially if you're going to be mean and toss out lovely words like "idiot"). Todd merely indicated that Lauren was SUPPOSED to be the original blond on the chair. They mentioned on the show last night that because of her medic visit she'd missed out on the group dance. Allison stepped in as her replacement and did a great job, though it would've been fun to see Lauren there.

Not my favorite results show. As Todd mentioned, the minute Lauren hit the bottom three, who was going home was a foregone conclusion. And because I didn't have to watch the subpar musical numbers (Not my job, sorry Todd. Boy, was I missing Natasha Bedingfield!), I didn't.

Can't wait to see what next week brings!

The judges made their final call last night. If Lauren is safe, it will be because people called in for her. At this point, I think there's a good chance it will be an all male final 3 which I think would be a shame.

@Jack Scribe

I think what you are missing is that Nigel and SYTYCD has spent a lot of effort making it clear that if you are a male dancer that doesn't make you gay. That way when other young men want to dance, their fathers' don't beat the snot out of them.

In fact, I remember a contestant a while back that tried out in drag that really upset one of the gay judges, who pointed out that's NOT the type of show they are trying to portray.

Yes, we do know that many of the male dancers are gay, and that's fine. But pushing dance past that, can open up the doors for many other young men that otherwise will never dance. And THAT is why I think they try and play it down.

Also remember, it's not just CA and NY that watch the show.

1st, I am wondering why blogging for SYTYCD has become so negative!! Rip rip rip .. if you don't like the show, stop watching it but certainly stop writing about it!

2nd, Jose knew as well as the rest of us that he was going home last night. His solo reflected his grace, his dance style, his strength, his talent and his gratitude. Maybe your attention was already in the gutter, Todd, during his solo as you were not able to discern this lovely man's obvious humility.

3rd, Lauren was exhausted throughout Wednesday evenings performances. Not her fault, SYTYCD really needs to re-think their Defy The Human Body's Limitations ca-razy schedule for these incredibly talented, now mostly all injured, gems. It is doubtful she will win. Meanwhile ..

Robert has completely won my attention (are he and Kathryn a couple?!) .. he is a incredibly dancer with wonderful, infectious warmth and energy!

And yes, Logan, this season belongs to KENT! He is EXQUISITE in everything he does .. did you catch all the dancers getting off the table in Mia's opening piece? ONLY Kent floated .. as he does in every moment of his perfect dancing. He is the force to reckon with!!

And, last but far from least .. BILLY .. Nigel HAD TO address the absurdity of him not making it to the finale. Calling his style 'androgynous' was the most PC way to say, "The teeny bopper girls want someone they can fantasize about (they either want you or they want to BE you) and without that pull, they aren't gonna vote for you." Period. I think he did a great job of calling it correctly, with finesse.

So everybody, PLEASE stop criticizing! Unless you are primed to do a better job!!

NATIONAL DANCE DAY TOMORROW!! WOO HOO!!

I loved Todd's reviews of Lost during its last season. However, I think I will stick with Claire when it comes to dance reality shows. I believe a lighter writing spirit is needed when writing about dance reality show.
I think negative reviews like this one upset the fans, specially when they are not at all related to the quality of the dance.

I agree that Lauren was definitely going to be saved, and that everyone knew it.

However, it was Billy who had the best solo last night, as well as the best performance on Wednesday night, in the homeless/businessman number. He is incredibly talented, in terms of both physicality and artistic expressiveness. His solo was coherent, fluid, and witty, while Lauren's displayed her athletic ability and sexiness, but in a desperately spastic way. It was way too much, all in a jumble.

Billy deserved to be in the finale. It's just unfortunate that he's not a ham for the cameras, which is apparently what America wants to see. Personally, I prefer to see talented artists.

Bring back Mary Murphy. The show lost its spice when the hot tamale train was derailed.

BTW, anyone who thinks this is actually a competition that is decided by audience voting must also believe that American Idol (Nigel's old job) is also a competition decided by audience voting, and not steered by producers to maximize ratings.

C'mon, folks, it's TV. NOTHING is spontaneous as it appears.

Aren't "breakers" or "Bboys" at a default disadvantage in this show? Their genre isn't included (unless the choreographers incorporate ceratin aspect of it) among the random selections, and their style doesn't overlap as easily into others as other forms.

You probably can't showcase much of your personality when the audience is focused on the blur of the acrobatic movement.

When they ask America to vote they say vote for your "favorite dancer" not the "best dancer". Billy and Robert have been saved from the bottom three several times because they are not the favorite dancers the voters are voting for, they are the favorite dancers of the judges. Billy may be the best dancer but he is obviously not the favorite. If the judges want the best dancer to win then change the way the winner is selected.

If ESPN can filter out the vuvuzelas, then surely Fox can filter out the teenage girly screams during the dances or when people are actually talking? I'm someone who minds all that quite a bit, but I still realize it is a part of the show and will not go away, but can't they maybe limit it to after the dance and when dancers are introduced etc.?

Anyway, the results were quite expected, and now I'm just looking forward to seeing who wins. My opinion remains that Alex was the best contestant they had this season, despite the fact that the others have performed many more times now, and that it's kind of a train wreck season. Still, all the remaining dancers are very talented and I look forward to seeing their final performances. Hopefully there will be no more injuries for the last two shows, and maybe Adechike is my favorite now that Billy is gone? Though whom ever I like usually is not very popular with the voters, so I'll just sit back and enjoy what's left of the season now.

 
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