Pop My Culture



Heather here, with your recap of the first live show of So You Think You Can Dance: Season 9. A frenetic Mad Men-esque themed opening dance kicks things off this week. The guest judge is Kenny “I Created Zac Efron” Ortega, director of the High School Musical trilogy, Newsies, and best of all, Hocus Pocus! Cat explains that two guys & two girls will be voted off this week, and each of the 20 dancers will be given nine seconds to rattle off interesting facts about themselves and/or freeze on the spot, saying nothing more than “ummm, ummmm, um— argh!”

We’re off with a samba, danced by Witney & Chehon.- Mary puts Witney on the Hot Tamale Train, Kenny compares her to “Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot, only hotter,” and Chehon is responsible for the first nip slip of the season.


Tiffany & George are next with a sensual, romantic dance by Sonya Tayeh. Sonya wanted them to melt like butter, and they certainly did. Things get awkward when Kenny tells us the piece brought him “back to his youth”, and praised the pair by telling them “they spilled it.” We can only assume he’s reminded of his own sexual encounters with… tapioca pudding?

Janaya & Brandon get Nappy Tabs, who by the looks of it, are going to be welcoming a new little Napster or Tablet into the world very soon. This dance will be remembered as “the alcoholic dance.” Am I the only jerk who was waiting for Janaya to smash the bottle like they showed in the rehearsal clip, only to be disappointed when they didn’t dance on glass shards? Kenny noted that he was glad to see hip hop being used to tell a story- hasn’t he ever heard of the infamously Oscar-snubbed Step Up 3D? Some people have no culture. In reference to Brandon’s choice of the girl over the booze at the end of the dance, Nigel tells us he’d pick Mary Murphy over a bottle of vodka “every time.” This is less believable than the entirely of the now-defunct TomKat marriage.

Alexa & Daniel are introduced with a jazz number. She likes red lipstick, folks! She also appears to suffer brain damage in rehearsal. Both are dressed in solid red with bleached blonde hair, looking like stunt doubles from Britney’s Oops I Did It Again video. This is when I realize I must be watching too much Dance Moms, because I expect every dance to end with the dancers on the ground caressing their faces. Their performances are good but not spectacular.

Amber & Nick chose the Lunesta of dance styles, the Viennese Waltz. Amber “hates sausage” while Nick’s dad works at the Playboy mansion. Sounds these two may be planning an off-campus excursion in the near future! Their choreographer, Jason Gilkison, really cuts into Nick during rehearsal, prompting Nigel to compare him to Abby Lee MilOHMYGOD!


She’s in the audience!!



I can’t believe they let us get halfway through the show without saying anything!

As the shock of the celebrity cameo wears off, Amelia, Will, and Amelia’s butt do the second Nappy Tabs piece that begins and ends in… a dumpster? The story isn’t a commentary on the pro-choice movement, however. It’s more “Lady and the Tramp” meets “Cats” with a dash of Fosse, and the dance heavily features some booty action. The judges predictably make several feline-based puns and predictably make us feel more skeeved out than a young Asian girl stuck in an elevator with Woody Allen.

Janelle & Dareian do an interesting and visceral African Jazz dance that looks like a rave in the jungle. Kenny starts to look dreamy and says the dance took him all over the world from Cuba to Paris to Brazil. Has he been drinking out of Mary’s cup?

Cyrus & Eliana draw a Broadway dance, “Run and Tell That” from Hairspray. One of the lyrics is “the blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice”, and Cyrus confirms the metaphor. He’s the robot-y “animator” who has never done choreography before the show, but his giant smile (and equally giant earlobe gauges) sell us on the performance. Eliana ditches the pointe shoes for sneakers and pulls off some impressive acrobatics. Nigel calls her the benchmark for the other girls to try and aspire to.

Audrey & Ryan Gosling Matthew are given a gift better than the shit those dudes gave baby Jesus: Travis Wall. As a dancer, he melted our hearts & saturated our panties. As a choreographer, he can do no wrong. This week’s Titanic-inspired contemporary dance is no expectation. Expect to see it come back in the season finale and on tour, because unlike Steven Segal’s music career (a real thing that actually happened), this one is unforgettable.

Exhibit A- chaise lounge leap of death:


I rest my case. The judges agree- best dance of the night.

Finally, Lindsay (who appears to have been born without an upper lip) and Cole (the ninja, not the Pop My Culture podcast host, although it’s an easy mistake to make) tackle the Paso Doble. The judges lose their shit once again, calling it the best Paso the show has ever seen. Personally, I think it looks more like a battle between Xena: Warrior Princess and Jackie Chan, but I know less about ballroom than I know about ball room. In my pants. Because I’m a girl.

In the comments, tell us which four dancers you think are going home, and let’s also hear who you think will go all the way to the title of America’s Favorite Girl/Guy Dancer! Remember, your guesses can earn you points towards the So You Think You Can Predict victory! It’s like an NCAA bracket, only better since you don’t have to deal with Nancy from HR’s bullshit theories on why God has chosen Gonzaga to be blessed with a trophy. Or whatever.

See you next week!


  • Comment by Melissa W. — July 15, 2012 @ 10:46 am

    I can’t remember how this is going to work. I think it’s possible for couples to get split up with the current voting system, right? Still, I don’t think that’s going to happen yet while we’re still getting to know the dancers. I’d guess Janaya & Brandon almost for sure and maybe Alexa & Daniel or Amber & Nick will be sent packing this week.

    I’m having a hard time telling who will win who so many people being shoved down our throats (Witney and Cyrus etc., the early front runners rarely stay there besides Melanie. I feel like Eliana could go far (technique meets some edge). But I think it’s dancers like Audrey & Matthew who will “peak at the right time.” Yes, I know they got a lot of attention this week but that was really for Travis more than them.

    Sorry for babbling…

  • Comment by popmaster — July 15, 2012 @ 8:06 pm

    Melissa- yes, couples can get split since we’re voting for individuals, but I agree that it’s unlikely at this stage of the game. It would be one thing if someone was clearly outshining their partner, but we didn’t really have that happen.

    Peaking at the right time is such a critical part! Hell, there were some exceptional dancers in Vegas that seemed to max out there and didn’t make it on the live show. Kinda like horse racing (or human racing, I suppose)- being in the lead at the quarter mile mark doesn’t mean anything at the finish line.

    Also agreed on Audrey & Matthew getting a lot of positive feedback- just about any of the contemporary/lyrical/ballet/jazz type dancers could’ve been in their places and it would have been just as fantastic… although I guess their relative sizes were a factor in all the lifts and throws.

    Thanks for commenting- hardly babble! We’ll soon see if your guesses are correct for next week!


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