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'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: You know I love you, but ...

July 14, 2011 |  7:52 am

AR4_MG_9267 I love “So You Think You Can Dance” and I love Jesse Tyler Ferguson from “Modern Family,” but for some reason Wednesday night’s episode just felt extra-long. I figured it was possibly because I was tired of seeing the same couples dance every week with no switching-up, but a Twitter reader offered that maybe it was just “Cuz so many numbers sucked.”

Well, “sucked” is a strong word but it did seem there were more dances than usual that didn’t quite sparkle, despite a return to the tried-and-true choreographers and the show getting so close to reaching its Top 10.

Only two couples got by with two routines the judges enjoyed, and it was (no surprise) Melanie and Marko, and Sasha and Alexander. I loved that Sasha played a semi-androgynous role in their paso doble, in tight pants instead of the typical swirling dress. I’ve wondered before how much Sasha really likes Alex so the love/hate element of the dance was great for them. I didn’t enjoy their “That’s Life” dance quite as much later on in the evening but I agreed with Nigel that for the first time it seemed like Alex wasn’t riding Sasha’s coattails.

As I’ve said before, I can’t always discern what sets certain ballroom dances apart from others but I got that “it” feeling from Melanie and Marko’s tango, and not just because of Marko dangling Melanie off the edge of the stage or their awesome lift at the end. I loved that Melanie was able to look sexy and totally confident and happy in her sex appeal (as opposed to angry-sexy, which seems to occur a lot during the tango).  Their second dance was even better, as Melanie and Marko recaptured the magic they had earlier in the season with the statue dance. In a Dee Caspary contemporary dance about depression, the two utilized a single hanging lightbulb to the ethereal song “Skin & Bones.” Once again Melanie created little portraits with every moment. I love Marko and as a pair but I wonder how Marko will fare without Melanie when the couples get split up next week: it’s not like she’s been carrying him, but I have to admit I almost always look at Melanie more when those two dance. Secretly, I want Melanie and Sasha to dance as a couple.


Prior to Wednesday night I thought Jordan hadn’t established herself as much more than the sexy or cute dancer, but fortunately Travis Wall choreographed a great dance for her to dance with Tadd where she played a “vulture” who preyed upon Tadd’s weak man. Personally, my favorite part of the dance was when he played the strong man taking care of her, since it seemed appropriate that a manipulative woman would make a man think he was in love with her.  Unfortunately their second dance didn’t work out as well. Their Spencer Liff campy sleeping beauty routine wasn’t quite as quirky and funny as it should have been, and the judges agreed it was lacking a little something.

I wasn’t as impressed with Jess and Clarice’s dances as the judges were. For their first performance they danced a Christopher Scott lyrical hip hop number about a guy trying to convince his insecure girlfriend that she’s beautiful. Between the mirror props and the concept in general, I thought the dance was a little corny, although I was surprised that the judges, who were brutally honest, thought it was cute. Then the couple performed a jive, which I had expected would be lots of fun from this little energetic duo, but it seemed like it lost steam fairly early on.

I didn’t care for the other Christopher Scott dance, and neither did the judges. Child soldiers in Africa are obviously a very sad and serious topic but I felt like we were going to be manipulated into liking the hip-hop dance on the subject before it even began. However, I was surprised to see how out of sync the dance was, how little it seemed to ask of Caitlynn and Mitchell either physically or emotionally. Was I just a terrible person? Well, if I was, at least I wasn’t the only one. The judges didn’t get the dance either, including Sonya Tayeh (who wasn’t afraid to get booed) or Jesse (the guest judges rarely get booed, but he did).  Caitlynn and Mitchell fared better with their second dance, a Travis Wall routine about a ’70’s rock star who discovers her lover is married. I thought the story was a bit much. (Why couldn’t it just be about “a betrayed woman”?) Caitlynn pulled off steamy well and she and Mitchell had good chemistry, but I thought the dance had a somewhat unclear ending: It seemed to trail off a bit, and the audience seemed uncertain when to start applauding

Ryan and Ricky had my favorite dance last week but I thought they were the weakest overall couple this week.  Spencer Liff’s Broadway dance about a starlet from a movie poster coming to life was a little corny and unfortunately nothing else could rescue it: The dancers lacked a necessary zip and I even had issues with Ryan’s costume, which obviously aspired to be Audrey Hepburn-esque but looked boxy and unflattering.  You know anytime the judges start with “You know I love you ...” they’re going to say something negative, and once again even Jesse was (gently) critical. Double-R got a cha-cha as their second dance and while I was impressed this time by Ryan’s magma-like costume, the dance lacked the oomph that it needed. The judges loved Ricky but for once didn’t fall all over themselves for Ryan, who they thought was sloppy.

Who do you think should (or will) be sent home tonight? I’m wondering if it’s finally Ryan and Ricky’s time. The show seems dedicated to the guest judge format this season: Who would you love to see sitting on the panel? Did you agree with Jesse that Cat Deeley deserves an Emmy? And which All-Stars do you hope to see next week? And do I ask too many questions?

--Claire Zulkey

Follow me @Zulkey

Photo: Jordan Casanova and Tadd Gadduang perform a contemporary routine to "Brotsjor," choreographed by Travis Wall. Credit: Adam Rose/Fox
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