'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Shut the front door
I knew I liked both Sasha and Melanie before we even got to the competition stage of the show. Sasha was highlighted enough in Las Vegas week for me to know I loved her dancing and personality and style, whereas Melanie was featured much less, yet she still stuck in my mind.
They both performed well Wednesday night, although I think I’d give the edge to Melanie, who has the advantage when it comes to her partner. In her Dee Caspary dance with Alex, Sasha played a distant memory of an old relationship that Alex elicited when he played the piano. Sasha just moves and creeps across the stage in something that’s slightly inhuman, and I love it. I don’t think, however, that Alex has matched her yet in terms of stage presence, and so whenever they dance, I look at her much more than I look at him. If he could bring as much character to his performance as she does, they’d be more formidable as a pair.
Melanie is luckier in that Marko enhances her when they perform. The two danced in a Nappytabs lyrical hip-hop routine about a guy left at the altar who realizes that his best friend is his one true love. Add a real-life kiss to the dance and it’s a premise that’s pretty much guaranteed to be a crowdpleaser, but Melanie and Marko added that little extra something to it. Melanie always looks effortless when she inhabits a character, and Wednesday night she was tender and spunky, but Marko was no slouch either, crying at the beginning of the dance and exploding with the realization that Melanie’s the one he’s supposed to be with. The judges declared them a power couple and were so overwhelmed, they all began kissing each other. (I don’t think you see nearly as much same-sex interracial kissing on other reality-TV shows.)
The one girl I didn’t expect to fall so hard for was Miranda. In the earlier episodes of the show, I probably just figured she would be known as “Robert’s partner,” but as he’s toned his personality down over the episodes (a good thing), she’s really started to shine. I think she’s the sleeper of the competition. Last week, I was impressed by her hip-hop swagger, and Wednesday night she got into the sultry character of an elegant call girl. I love her pale skin and dark hair. I don’t think the Broadway dance she and Robert performed was the best or most meaningful of the night, but once again it made me notice Miranda, whom the judges essentially declared “most improved.”
I wonder if I’ll start crushing on any of the other contestants as hard. (Tadd is getting there, thanks to the abs he displayed in the Nappytabs morning-after-themed routine he performed with Jordan.) Aside from minor issues here and there (Jess and Clarice’s facial expressions during their fox trot bugged me), there were no real duds last night, although the judges weren’t big fans of Sonya Tayeh’s undead jazz routine. They didn’t mind Ashley and Chris, per se -- it was the dance itself they didn’t quite get. What I don’t get is why Chris has that thing on his chin. At any rate, I agreed with Nigel (who gave us a glimpse of what it looks like when he puts on his "American Idol" hat, which is to say, he doesn’t like it when the judges critique song choice). I had hoped for something a bit more when I heard Sonya Tayeh + zombies.
What were your favorite performances Wednesday night? And of the two (unjudged) group dances, which did you prefer? I liked Dee Caspary’s routine about the conniving medieval women. Do you think Cat Deeley will let me borrow her dress from last night? And how did you like Kristin Chenoweth as a guest judge? I think she’s a talented lady, but with the pitch of her voice and her love of yelling catchphrases, it’s a bit much to have her and Mary Murphy on the same panel.
-- Claire Zulkey
Photo: The top 8 -- Alexander Fost, Ashley Rich, Caitlynn Lawson, Jess LeProtto, Jordan Casanova, Melanie Moore, Ricky Jaime and Robert Taylor Jr. -- perform a contemporary routine to "Poison and Wine," choreographed by Dee Caspary. Credit: Adam Rose / Fox