Am I crazy or have we usually heard the panel congratulating themselves on selecting the best crop of dancers in So You Think You Can Dance history several times by this point in the season? It’s not the party line this year. And frankly, the judges can only blame themselves. They played it too safe putting together season 11′s Top 20 and here we are. I’m missing the drive, the energy, and the way the show fulfills its purpose when someone truly shocks us with what he’s capable of doing. Maybe I’m feeling the lack of the Dance For Your Life solo here. Either way, something is missing.
That’s not to say that this performance episode was a complete bust. There were triumphs. There were bold recoveries. Ricky wore guyliner. And it was good.
Bridget, Marquet, Brooklyn, Serge, Tanisha, Zack
Bridget and Emilio’s “Happy” jive was in our Top 5 performances last week, but one half of that partnership still made it into the bottom. Fans are connecting with Emilio, possibly in part due to the injury that prevented him from competing last year. (That’s the injury that brought us hunky tapper Aaron though, so I remain fine with it.) Kim predicted that Brooklyn and Zack would be here, and that Jacque would benefit from the audience’s investment in her showmance with Rudy. The judges have practically been instructing everyone at home to not vote for Marquet. There’s clearly something about him that sticks in their craw, though I just don’t see the flaws they do. Serge has been a fixture in the Bottom 6, though plenty of dancers in the annuls of SYTYCD have hung tight there week after week and ended up still in the game at the bitter end. There’s no excuse for Tanisha to be anywhere near the bottom of the ladder. WAKE UP, AMERICA.
Cat Deeley Scale of Awesomeness
We’ll start – as Cat does – with her wardrobe. This week, she sported a long-sleeved sparkly mini-dress with soft waves, matching dove gray eyeshadow, a gigundo cocktail ring, and sick-nasty shoes. How can one person look so bangin’ and so approachable at the same time?
I have decided that Cat, who I once thought of as a den mother, is actually like the cool camp counselor for this ragtag group of dancers. At Camp SYTYCD, Cat would be curled up on your cot doling out advice about boys and french-kissing during bedcheck. Therefore, Rudy is going to be answering giggly questions about his progress with Jacque every Wednesday for the forseeable future.
This Week’s “Jidges” Score of Awesome: 9/10. 8 for all of the above, plus an extra point for the way she says “Shazaaayyym!
Performances of the Night
Tanisha and Rudy, Hip Hop
I’m sure I’ll get comments asking why I rank this number over Bridget and Emilio’s contemporary, but I stand by my order. Prior to this routine, Hip-Hop hadn’t had its Season 11 day in the sun. Our Top 20 was light in that department, and no dancer from another style had truly broken through to Alex Wong or Chelsie Hightower levels of adopted (Appropriated? I don’t have the strength.) swag. So it was a hallelujah moment to see Rudy and Tanisha successfully attack this piece.
We all agree that NappyTabs are brilliant, but the show has benefited from branching out with other Hip-Hop choreographers. This has been Dave Scott’s stand-out piece so far in the competition, from the sexy comic-book concept to the slinky moves to the perfect song choice. With those ingredients, Rudy and Tanisha cooked up the hottest number in a season generally lacking in sex appeal. They acted the crap out of it too. Rudy continues to succeed at charming America with his grin and then wiping it off when he needs to get down to business. And Tanisha. Tanisha was that backless catsuit. She and the catsuit were one. On the whole, I lost interest in guest judge Misty Copeland during her second consecutive appearance on the panel, but I couldn’t help agreeing with her response to Tanisha’s “look at me” attitude: “Where do we start?”
Bridget and Emilio, Contemporary
That said, Bridget and Emilio’s contemporary piece was stunning. Travis Wall’s choreography was relentless and unsettling. There was not one movement that didn’t communicate the story he wanted to tell – that of a person trying to escape the negative, oppressive elements of his life. I don’t understand the significance of the bedframe, thought it did provide a structure for Emilio to be escaping from. He and Bridget are connecting really nicely; I think that’s more difficult for most couples in the angsty, un-romantic routines. Speaking of Miss Bridget, she snaps a neck quite gracefully. And Emilio looked for all the world – at least the world of laypeople -like a contemporary dancer. Nigel’s pandering compliment won’t be repeated here. He is the worst.
Valerie and Ricky, Bollywood
Resident cutie-pie Valerie was previewing her routine with Ricky when she struck her intro pose in a Bollywood-inspired outfit. It felt good to see them outside of their comfort zones, though they seemed mighty sure that their smiley good looks would translate. And they did. The judges were pretty crazy about their take on Nakul Dev Mahajan’s bright and joyful choreography and their performance was energetic and frankly, exhausting to even watch. Still, not a one of them even mentioned the few awkward lifts I’m sure I spotted in there. But Ricky and Valerie are clearly the prom king and queen of this season’s crop and will have to fuck up pretty decidedly to fall off their pedestal.