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