Dirty dancing all over the place, people: So You Think You Can Dance, Week 7
WARNING: The following recap is not the musings of a certified dance expert. My qualifications for writing this column are: I am a reality TV lover with a DVR machine that I only sort of know how to use.
Well, we're done with pairs and we're on to solos. The question is: How do the producers plan to fill two hours two nights a week with just ten dancers? Of course! Silly inconsequential dances with no inherent purpose-- it's brilliant!
Cat Deeley looks a bit haggard tonight. Somebody has been partying too hard after the news of her Emmy nomination. She's too tan, too blonde, too Hollywood. See what celebrity has done to her! Next, she'll be going to jail on a coke bender with Lindsay and Paris.
Another bad influence, Neil Patrick Harris is the guest judge tonight. And his homo star power is apparently enough of a step up from last week's Jesse Tyler Ferguson to just have three judges tonight. He did Broadway, he dances AND he played Doogie Howser. Tweens and confused mothers everywhere can't even get enough of his triple threat dimples.
Just wait for that live-action Smurfs movie to drop. Then they'll see the folly of their ways...
Time for the dance! Besides the disposable singular dances, the contestants will be paired up with SYTYCD all-stars from past seasons. Twitch and Pasha and Comfort come home to roost!
Marko (dancing with Chelsea - Season 4):
The sweet, gravelly-voiced Marko is up first, and he’s dancing with Chelsea, (who you should all remember from the "Bleeding Love" routine back in season 4).
This time around, rehearsal is not going well because Markko cannot stop dropping Chelsea on her pretty little face. Look away, people.
On stage, they're doing some Italian papparazzi number with a soundtrack from that awful mistep of a movie Nine starring Kate Hudson and Daniel Day-Lewis. Luckily this routine is better than that movie. Don't need to hear Kate Hudson struggling through "Cinema Italiano," but we're mesmerized by Markko's hips. They're swiveling in and out of socket like he's a spastic marionette.
What kind of bizarre samba routine requires you lack a skeletal system? He looks like a drunken genie who grants dance-offs instead of wishes.
Neil Patrick Harris is surprised by Chelsea’s scissor kick over Markko’s head. He calls Marko “the guy to beat.” Mary Murphy gets right to screaming. She gets so worked up, she even loses her earring on the first screching fit of the night. Apparently, Marko's "ball-flap footwork" is exquisite. Nigel agrees, and his praise is enough to send Marko into a crying fit. It's too soon for tears, young dancer!
Sasha does her boring solo piece, set to “Syrup and Honey” by Duffy. She’s rolling and convulsing like the spirits are in her! Cat calls her a “warrior princess” about thirteen times, so apparently that's a little inside Xena joke they share.
Jordan (dancing with Brandon - Season 5):
“This piece is about love,” Jordan brilliantly offers, not realizing that every other piece they do on this show is likewise about love...
Her all-star partner Brandon is overly-positive and overly-muscley and overly-talkative. In the contemporary snoozefest of a dance, we end up watching his shirtless prancing way more than her. She tries making up for it with a series of jumping splits. Their synchonicity is pretty solid, but I’m totally just watching him the whole time.
Plus, her costume is stretching and pulling in a lot of awkward angles. I’m afraid her vagina and left breast may be making an arrival at any minute. Oh my.
Mary is so happy to see Brandon back on stage again, but she reserves her vocal fury for the choreographers. Jordan’s arabesque is apparently on fire. I don't know what she says exactly when she's pumping out the jargon in her highest register. Nigel wants to make out with the choreographers as well. Then he warns us, the voting audience, to keep Jordan in the competition.
Neil Patrick admits he doesn’t know about dance, but he likes to breathe heavily while people dance. He then compiments Brandon for being shirtless and “yoked.” Huh?
Hobbity smile monster Jess does his obnoxious solo in khakis and a sweater vest. This piece gives me the diabetic shakes. Go home, terrible little man. Your thighs are too big for your body.
Tadd (dancing with Comfort - Season 4):
Chuck Maldonado leads these two in a “gutter sexy” hip hop routine. This is one area Comfort excels in, so let's see what b-boy ab machine Tadd does with it. He's going to show you his abs every two seconds, is what he's going to do.
They're dancing to the Chris Brown/Busta Rhymes song "Look at Me Now," and it's amazingly boring for a hip hop routine. It doesn't really look fully choreographed. At least the focus is on him, but she’s showing him up rather significantly and their synchronization is off.
They do have an amazing little ab roller exercise at the end, but it's too little too late. This dance got out of their hands and never got back in line.
Nigel tries talking like Busta Rhymes, and everyone’s embarrassed. But he gets a good dig in at Mary, so he’s forgiven. Nigel wrongly states that Tadd out-danced Comfort this time. Apparently, Nigel is blind or else they're giving out gold stars to everyone tonight.
Oh, but then Neil Patrick Harris--grandma that he is--calls a move “dope.” And we all cringe visibly. Now Mary’s calling Tadd “ghetto-licious.” I've gotta fast forward before something gets called "fresh." No one is interested in the truth tonight but me.
The lovely Melanie jumps around the stage to Julia Stone's rendition of "You're the One that I Want." It's boring, but it allows Melanie remind us of her powerful thighs. Shut up, she’s still my favorite.
Mitchell (dancing with Melodie - Season 1):
Amazingly Melodie is still alive after being on the show almost ten years ago! I didn't know dancers lived that long in captivity!
She makes it back right in time to get roped into the most embarrassing Broadway number designed by Tyce "Douchey Line Beard" Diorio. The dance is meant to resemble "the idea of flight" in all its forms. Like crashing and burning.
At one point, their legs are the propellers of a plane, she’s a suitcase, and he's... definitely going home.
The song is weird as all get out: "Take Off with Us" from some silly acapella Broadway soundtrack. And everyone looks dumb dancing to Braodway already. But then they have to dress him up like a pilot and her up like a stripper?
Their giant get-us-out-of-here smiles imply either a love of flying or severe mental deficiency. I don’t get it. Nothing about this was fun or good or interesting.
A man of the people, Neil Patrick Harris admits right away that he didn’t get it either. He gets his first boo! Yay! Mary calls it “overdone.” Haha, she's calling something overdone! Bahahahahaha. Nigel refers to “the dance pudding” and then starts doing some Fosse-inspired dance moves in his chair. Eek and no thanks. Boos all around! Everyone's miserable!
He’s leaping and stretching and bouncing. Bored.
The lovely Clarice actually prepard a piece that is timed out and appropriate with the music she chose. And she’s wearing a tasteful neck ruffle to match her sparkly bra. She's free from being paired with Jess, and already she's so much happier.
Caitlynn (dancing with Pasha - Season 3):
It's time for the Argentinian Tango, and this will either go very well or very badly. Choreographers Miriam and Leonardo are leading Caitlynn and the dreamboat Pasha in what they intend to be a black and white film noir scene. A film noir where they dance the tango. Uh... okay.
Their costumes are solid. But I'm left wondering how can he move in that shiny tux. It's so tight and so shiny!
She may or may not be kicking him repeatedly in the junk. Her legs are just flying everywhere with the ferocity of a spurned femme fatale. Regardless, they are actually establishing a very intimate scene, ignoring the audience and making this about them.
Mary gives Caitlynn a standing ovation. And once she’s up, we can see how silly she looks in her full-length Cookie Monster dress. A big blue sack of cookie-loving she is. But when she gets serious about ballroom, Mary actually talks at a normal pitch. Incredible!
Nigel creepily calls Caitlynn “finally a woman. A very sexy woman.” Eek! Despite their discomfort, Cat and Caitlynn are giggling like schoolgirls up on stage. Neil admits he wants to learn to tango so Cat will giggle with him someday as well.
Only wearing a big adult diaper, Mitchell is jumping and falling multiple times during the song “This Time” by John Legend. This will not be enough to save him from that unfortunate Broadway routine that Line Beard punished him with so hard tonight.
Sasha (dancing with Twitch - Season 4):
Despite shaming the SYTYCD name last week, choreographer Christpher Scott returns with a new hip hop routine for Sasha and former SYTYCD finalist Twitch.
The two will be dancing passionately about a passionless relationship set to Dorothy Moore's "Misty Blue." It's not a hip hop song at all, so my sensors detect either genius or insanity.
Bored of her loveless marriage, Sasha jumps on a table and animal crawls over to Twitch, planning to fiercely make out with his face. They devolve into dancing a hip hop routine even though the song sounds like an old-timey jazz song.
She’s pushing him all over the stage, and they are ready to either fight or bone or dance or some new hybrid of the three. This. Is. Awesome. Sasha’s incredible tonight, and they’re helping one another like they've been partners forever. I’m dying. This is one of my favorite things to happen all season. Dirty dancing all over the place.
The judges are all shaking their hands like they're wet and there are no paper towels. The audience will not stop yelling. Finally, they get it right. This is, hands down, the best dance of the night.
Nigel is speechless and making the grossest blowup doll mouth I've ever seen on prime time TV. Neil starts flirting with the choreographer before realizing he's on national television. Mary’s hyperventilating. It might be menopause. Or the chafing going on next door in blow-up doll Nigel land.
Nothing like a boring old spin and jump and fall and twist routine to Lykke Li to bring you down off a high like that last dance.
Jess (dancing with Kathryn - Season 4):
Stacey Tookey has choreographed a routine about blindness. In this piece, Jess and Kathryn are not looking at each other until the end. And what a relief for Kathryn, she’s dancing with a monster. A diminutive goblin-type monster.
Oh, and he has to keep lifting her! Haha! Nigel keeps mocking Jess for being able to lift ladies above his 2' 8 3/4" frame. Shes’ a human so she's far taller than him, and he can’t get her very far off the stage. It looks like an ant lifting a Big Mac.
Let's just watch her be pretty. She’s a much better dancer than he is anyway.
Neil Patrick Harris is gonna be hard on Jess... because he has eyes and a values system. He calls Jess “muggy” in the face and recognizes his insincerity. Mary however tells Jess this is her favorite piece he’s done all show. Huh? She clearly has no eyes and no values.
Nigel makes a crack about Joan Rivers’ face having more lifts than this routine, but nobody laughs because tweens don't know who Joan Rivers is. Ouch. Nigel compliments Jess for pulling off the lifts despite the fact Kathryn was mere inches away from crashing into the hard ground several times. We'll let America decide, of course.
Ugh, no one cares! Robin Thicke? And walking handstands? Over it.
Melanie (dancing with Pasha - Season 3):
My favorite Melanie is tasked with doing the Viennese Waltz with ballroom expert Pasha. Sad and slow and dangerous, yes, but if anyone can pull it off, it's Melanie.
Choreographer Jason Gilikson designed this routine to be about saving someone's life. Naturally, there's a lot of billowy wind and long white dresses. Pasha's shirt is open in a Fabio-esque homage. This might be a commercial about imitation butter spread.
With the cheesy cover of REM's "Everybody Hurts" in the background, this dance definitely doesn’t feel like ballroom. It's rather quite boring and maudlin. Pasha's chest is undoubtedly the star of this dance.
Mary knows what’s up with the timing and lifts. She points out Melanie's effortlessness. She’s Mary’s top pick for contestants this season.
Nigel doesn’t try to be funny or skeezy, just sincere and honest. Neil is likewise honest about his tendency to cringe at the waltz. But he calls it right: Melanie looks like she’s from the past but dances like she’s from the future. She’s his favorite dancer on the show, too.
Cut to: Melanie’s mom crying like a dingo ate her baby.
Even Florence and the Machine can't save Caitlynn from the uninspired ho-hum of this jump and roll routine.
Ricky (dancing with Allison - Season 2):
I really want good things for Ricky, but he keeps falling on bad luck. He's been in the bottom three more times than anyone, and now he's stuck doing a Line Beard Diorio routine again.
This time, Tyce has devised a nightmare scenario where Ricky is haunting Allison's dreams. The idea behind this is terrible and fret with problems from the get-go. He’s his nightmare.
She's dressed like an orphan in Hell, and he's got a silly butt ruffle to imply he's not normal. Their movements are weird and sloppy and tortured. Ricky’s solid, but she just looks as uncontrolled as her hair. Is this on purpose? Is this forever?
The piece is getting a little too demonic and sexual assault-y. It doesn't help that the soundtrack is Tori Amos's "Precious Things." Yikes! No one in the room is entirely comfortable watching this unfold.
Nigel of course loves it because he's a little demonic and sexual assault-y himself. NPH compliments Ricky’s boldness and maturity in the piece, which means he doesn't know what else to say. Mary also loves the darkness and raw passion. There’s something seriously dark living inside that lady. Anyone with a voice that high and a tan that intense has The Dark inside of her.
More of the same. Always the same. Gavin Degraw, but still the same.
Clarice (dancing with Robert - Season 7):
Ooh! Indain music in the background means Bollywood dancing! I love when they do Bollywood on this show because it's new and fun for everyone. They’re always so sparkly and out of control.
After a hot and heavy makeout rehearsal, Clarice is ready to show just how great she can be without Jess nipping at her heels. Her partner this time is the fully-formed, height-appropriate Robert who loves to smile and be a human.
On stage, their costumes do not disappoint. He's sparkly and purple; she's a sugared watermelon. They look like Indian gumdrops that can't stop moving.
It’s an incredibly involved and demanding routine, though I want more forward-facing, voguing poses. Regardless, they look like they're having a blast.
Neil rejoices that he finally feels a connection with Clarice because he too wants to dance with Robert. Getting her away from Jess the Goblin makes him like her more.
Mary is back in her highest registers again which means she’s blowing smoke up Clarice's ass. Both Mary and Nigel reference how the dance fit her like a glove. Nigel compares the challenge of Bollwood dancing to patting his stomach and changing a lightbulb at the same time. Huh? That’s offensive, right?
That’s all the dancing for tonight! So what happens next? After everyone votes, one unlucky loser goes home so the other nine may feast on his or her blood!
Hands down, Sasha was the clear winner this evening. This is the best piece that has happened for her all season, and fans will be referencing this for years to come.
Tadd (How do you make hip hop boring?)
Mitchell (A Braodway airpane themed piece? Nosedive!)
Ricky (Playing a demon makes it tough to connect with the audience...)
Looks like the ladies will indeed rule this season. Can they take the top four spots in the finale?