'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Bad romance
OK, I think that as of Wednesday night’s episode, the celebrity guest judge thing on "SYTYCD" has gotten out of hand. I felt bad for Rob Marshall, who's an acclaimed EGOT (if the "G" stands for "Golden Globe")-winning director and choreographer, but who was totally overshadowed by Lady Gaga's presence on the judging panel.
I know Lady Gaga has some very passionate fans out there, so let me be clear: I like Lady Gaga as an artist (my workout playlist wouldn’t be the same without her) and she seems like a decent and talented person. But whether she meant to or not, Lady Gaga took over the show and sucked the air out of the room. I don’t doubt that she cared about the performances and is an experienced-enough artist to offer some useful advice, which she did at times, but between her outfit and the quipping and the shoe-throwing and the near-constant criticism of the choreographers, she distracted from the actual performances on the show. It got to the point where I was grateful for the fly that landed on her big, dumb red hat at one point because it proved that although Lady Gaga can distract us from what we’re watching, at least something can distract us from her.
Aside from all that, I don’t think this episode measured up to last week’s. It’s no surprise that Sasha and Melanie had the best night (also? I’m getting sick of the judges telling the dancers who their favorites are. It’s not useful and I feel bad for the dancers who haven’t gotten to hear that.) My dirty secret is that none of Sasha or Melanie’s dances were close to being my favorites from the season. I thought Sasha and Pasha’s quickstep was charming but, as Rob Marshall said, the genre didn’t really let her light shine. The judges adored Melanie and Neil’s jazz routine, but the more '80’s-themed a Melanie Moore dance is, the less I can get into it (which is probably why I much preferred the dance she choreographed for Tadd and Lauren Froderman). Melanie’s leap into Neil’s arms was pretty amazing, however. And while I’ve wanted Sasha and Melanie to dance together for a long time, I expected so much from their Sonya Tayeh dance together that I didn’t feel like I quite got the transcendent moment I wanted. And then the celebration after the dance just got out of hand.
I did think Jordan also had a strong night thanks to the sexy and powerful "Nutbush City Limits" dance she performed with Ade that showed off all her spunky bendiness. I also liked her Rumba with Jess more than the judges did. Marko had 75% of a very good night as well. "I Know It's Over," by Sonya Tayeh and performed with Allison Holker, was gorgeous, although I think it’s a bit of a shame that after Marko called out to his near-apoplectic mother in the studio audience, Nigel decided that the takeaway of the performance was "call your mom." I also think that Marko did pretty well in the hip-hop routine that Nappytabs choreographed for him and Ricky, but Ricky wasn’t quite as strong as he was, which hurt the performance. I think the dance, being about a cleaning crew and all, was on the verge of being a little hokey. After the performance, Tabitha and Napoleon exchanged looks like they knew Lady Gaga was going to criticize the use of props and the dance in general and she totally did.
The night just felt "off" to me, but who knows, maybe I was off-kilter myself thanks to my Fox affiliate constantly switching in and out of high definition because of tornado watches. Am I crazy? Did you love Lady Gaga? What were your favorite dances? And who is your favorite dancer thus far whom a judge has never called his or her favorite dancer? I’m going to go with Iveta.
-- Claire Zulkey
Photo: The final 8 contestants, from left, front row, Sasha Mallory, Jordan Casanova, Melanie Moore and Ricky Jaime, and, back row, Caitlynn Lawson, Marko Germar and Tadd Gadduang.
Credit: Michael Becker / Fox