Bust out your Hitler ‘staches everybody, because it’s time for So You Think You Can Dance!
Our androgynous and possibly anti-Semitic Top 16 opened the show with some inspiration from Charlie Chaplin, an Umbrella from Cherbourg, and those cutesy black & white photos of a little boy giving the little girl a flower and the flower is colored in pastels and all the girls in the dorms had at least one of those pictures on the wall because OMG I’m totes into photography, you guys!
Ahem. It’s interested to note that with everyone dressed nearly identically, the only two dancers that stood out to me as being recognizable were Amelia and Cyrus. Fan favorites, perhaps?
Joining tonight’s “judging” panel (let’s face it, they use that word pretty loosely) is the freaking gorgeous Christina Applegate. Have you guys been watching her on Up All Night? She costars with Will Arnett and Maya Rudolph, for Peter Paul and Mary’s sake! It’s easily one of my favorites from the latest batch of sitcoms that came out this year. And who can forget her brilliant recurring character as Jen Aniston’s sister on Friends? Man, I’m so glad that show hasn’t been cancelled. (shhh, I’m very fragile).
OK- I’m back on my meds and ready to get my dance on. Or rather, ready for these kids to get *their* dance on while *I* sit on my couch and polish off the rest of this pint of Haagan Dazs… but let’s not split hairs.
The first dance of the show features Tiffany & George. It resembles an Ambien dream sponsored by Planned Parenthood, Romper Room, and Nickelodeon. Napoleon and Tabitha choreographed this babysitting dance based on their own impending real life nightmare bundle of joy. It’s art imitating life, y’all!
The judges were into it, but none more than Mary. She went off the deep end (even for her) while comparing Tiffany to a warrior. Rawr!
Amber & Brandon, who were newly coupled after their partners were voted off last week, got a SUPER sexy jazz dance. It’s time to trade in the 50 Shades nonsense for some REAL sexual storytelling, and these dancers paint one hell of a steamy sepia toned picture.
Christina couldn’t contain her erotic enthusiasm and exclaimed something about Jesus that ended up being bleeped. Now, I’m no professional lipreader, but I believe she said “…I’m not religious, but Jesus H. Motherfucking Christ I love the Pop My Culture Podcast.com site!” Your interpretations may vary. Nigel described it as “baby-making choreography”, which is both accurate and an instant boner killer.
Russian heartthrob Pasha returns to his old pirouetting grounds with choreography for Dareian (the daredevil! who’da thunk it!) and Janelle. They Cha Cha to the classic tune of… Call Me Maybe? Sure, this isn’t a show known for its traditional, stuffy song choices, but seriously? Call me when it’s over. The judges stopped just short of calling the routine a technical disaster with Nigel giving the harshest criticism in his arsenal: Janelle wasn’t sexy. I’m going to start taking a shot of vodka every time he mentions anything sexual; by the halfway point of the show, I’ll hopefully be blitzed enough to pretend like I never had those awful, disturbing mental images of what’s going on under his dance belt.
Lindsay & Cole are next with an absolutely gorgeous contemporary by Mandy Moore- not THAT Mandy Moore, as veteran SYTYCD-ers are fully aware. Maybe I’m biased because I love the song Wild Horses, but this version by Charlotte Martin (whose work you may remember from such hits as SYTYCD Seasons 3 & 4, a song in Sweet Home Alabama, and 2 songs translated into Simlish for The Sims expansion packs!) sent chills right through my stone cold heart. Plus, how could you not love a dance that includes an aerial teabagging?
With terms like “brilliant”, “genius”, “magical”, and “an enigma”, it’s safe to say the judges were equally blown away.
Amelia & Will have the pressure of following that spectacle with another Mandy Moore dance, but this one is a quirky jazz with a visual mashup of Victor/Victoria and March of the Penguins. It’s kooky, it’s wacky, it’s… too weird for me. The judges aren’t sure what to make of it either, but everyone can agree that Will is the best male partner of the pack. Even Mandy can’t keep her hands (and coslopus) off him in rehearsal.
The salsa, or as Nigel disturbingly calls it, “a cocktail mixer of sex and energy”, is next up with Audrey and Ryan Matthew. Remind me never to let Nigel buy me a drink. If you can imagine Beethoven’s Fifth being composed in a Cuban bodega, you’d have a pretty good idea of the soundtrack. Note to whoever is in charge of these things: if you’re going to focus on the dancers learning a specific trick in rehearsal, especially one called “the tornado”, maybe don’t choose a trick that ends up being altered to make it easier in the live performance. It was a clear giveaway that these guys have no idea what they’re doing.
The judges are underwhelmed, but more importantly, I figured out who Audrey looks like!
Chehon & Witney dance to her namesake’s iconic song “I Will Always Love You” (by Whitney Houston), and everyone loses their minds. The audience bursts into a standing ovation and probably some ovulations. Christina tearfully says “Stacey Tookey” three times fast, causing the choreographer to appear. She also gives us the metaphor of the night: “you were not just the muses; you were the painters.” Albert Brooks would be proud.
Things get a little weird when Mary calls Witney by the wrong name and Nigel praises Stacey and Cat for their Oscar nominations (it’s an Emmy, pal. Get it together!) but there is so much excitement over this dance that no one seems to care.
Finally, it’s time for Eliana and Cyrus, easily the oddest pairing of the show. They’re also kinda my favorites because I’m a huge sucker for a) classical ballet and b) crazy talented pop-and-lock type hip hop dancers. (I also have a real thing for dancing male Asians, which is why I’d gladly make baby hummingbirds with Hok or tear both my ACLs for Alex Wong.) Plus, did you see Cyrus’s badass belly button??
So their dance is a futuristic ballerina-come-to-life thing by Nappy Tabs set to a broken down remix of Brit-Brit’s Toxic. There are a few standout moments, like this tutting sequence:
and this, um… lift?
But even with everything going for it- a strong theme, great costumes, solid music selection, arguably the best hip hop choreographers, and definitely the best hip hop dancer on the show, it’s not one of my favorites. I really wanted to like it more. The judges and audience (thankfully!) disagreed. Mary “Street Cred” Murphy called it “crazy sick frozen good buck.” That sounds more like an entrée at a questionable hunting lodge than an assessment of the arts. They’re unceremoniously “both on the damn train” and we’re spared Mary’s trademark “whoo whoo” we’ve all grown to love/hate. The other judges agree, and Nigel comments that he’s pleased the gamble on Cyrus has paid off. Amen to that.
That concludes the duets, and it’s time to find out who was in the bottom of the barrel based on last week’s performances. The kids (I’m older than all of them, so I’m allowed to say it) line up and I’m reminded of the Sesame Street “one of these things is not like the others” song…
The bottom six are Amber, Lindsay, Eliana, George, Brandon, and Dareian. It’s worth noting that Amber and Brandon, who were only paired this week after losing their partners last week, are the only couple in the bottom together. In contrast to last week, the judges decide they want to see Amber, Eliana, Brandon, and Dareian do their solos. What does that mean for Lindsay and George? Is that a good thing? I’m just excited to bring back the New Year’s style “…3! 2! 1!” countdown as their stage time runs out, because I’m delighted by simple pleasures.
Amber is first up and WAIT WHAT THE FUCK- they don’t let the audience do the countdown!! This is bullshit. Next they’re going to get rid of Cat holding the mic out to the audience when she introduces “yooooour judges” and then I’m gonna get ruuuul pissy.
With the solos, Amber does a beautiful job, Brandon doesn’t do much of anything, Eliana is graceful and flawless, and Dareian is astonishing and my favorite of the four.
The judges deliberate while a group from Alvin Ailey takes the stage. All I see are six shirtless Taye Diggs clones in dresses. This pleases me.
Time to get to business. Of the girls, the judges save… Lindsay? Really? Nigel says she has “more room to grow” than Amber and Eliana. Maybe so, but she’s practically the same dancer as Witney and Eliana is so much more versatile and uniquely talented. Harumph…. wait! I forgot, they’re saving two dancers and only one is going home! They decide to keep Eliana too! Amber and her weaves are out. It’s fucked up that her “baby-making” dance didn’t make it to the voting rounds, (taking a puff on my cigar) but ‘ey, that’s showbiz, kid.
Of the boys, George is also saved right off the bat. That answers my earlier question about not being asked to do a solo- turns out it’s a good thing. Unsurprisingly, they also keep Darien after commenting on his incredible “save your life” solo and Brandon is booted. When his montage flashes back to his original audition, it’s clear that three seconds of that solo was much better than his entire solo tonight. What happened? He thanks Jesus (into the mic, because you definitely need some amplification to be heard up in the clouds) and joins his partner Amber on the Stool of Failure (patent still pending).
The show will be off for 2 weeks while the Olympians are busy Olympianing, but we’ll be back for the August 15th installment. Now that you’re all caught up on the action, who do you think is in trouble next time? Will Cyrus meet his match with the contemporary genre? Will Mary’s forehead show human emotion? Tell it to the comment box!