If you ever doubted that So You Think You Can Dance is one of the shoddiest, most bootleg productions on television, Wednesday night’s broadcasting strategy surely put your doubts to rest. Here is a description of Fox’s brilliant programming move. First, they aired the standard promos about how we were going to see two full hours of the show. Then, the show started at its usual time of 8 p.m. EDT – but what the hell was this? Cat was wearing the dress with the two pythons stapled to the front again! After a few minutes of stunned confusion, I deduced that they were, in fact, re-airing last Thursday’s results show.
Why would they do this? Well, I can only assume that the producers figured out that they could not possibly fill a two-hour performance show with only six couples performing, even with the help of guest appearances from random choreographers and tenuously themed audition-flashback sequences. I applaud The Powers That Be for realizing this. However, I have a suggestion. Why not just, I don’t know, MAKE THE SHOW SHORTER? Instead, they aired what amounted to an unexplained rerun. I suspect that millions of viewers turned on their TVs, only to think “I already saw this one,” and then turned them right back off.And what about those hardy souls who really wanted to see the show, and who remembered that the results show is only an hour long? Well, those clever individuals would have stepped away from their televisions during the airing of the rerun, with an extremely logical plan to return at 9 p.m. for what would surely be the actual performance show. But would those loyal viewers be rewarded? No, they would not – because, you see, the performance show actually started at approximately 8:52. So if you tried to just skip the rerun and then turn on the new episode, you ended up missing the first eight minutes.
Of course, none of this mattered to me, because I watched the whole thing on FauxVo. In fact, I was beyond delighted when I discovered that I had just over an hour of performance show to recap, instead of the expected two hours of bloat. Still, I felt compelled to voice some outrage on behalf of all those poor So You Think You Can Dance devotees who tried to do the right thing and follow the show, but who were a tiny bit too self-respecting to actually sit and watch an hour of television that they had watched just six short days before.
Ahem. On with the show, or at least, the part of it that started at 8:52. Here comes our first ever dance-in without the presence of a certain couple whom I will not even deign to mention by name. Yay! Wow, all of a sudden I like most of these people. It will be a weird feeling to be sad about somebody going home on the next episode.
Cat is wearing – is that fringe? Or is it crinkly pleats? I can’t really tell, but it sure is ugly. It’s not Jungle Fug, though, so she’s forging new territory. She looks sort of Wild West. Judges are Brian Friedman, Mary, and Nigel. Brian Friedman has choreographed some of the more entertaining routines, but I guess this doesn’t mean anything either way when it comes to how he’ll be as a judge.
So You Think You Can Dance, Cat?
She should have accessorized this with a six-shooter and a twang.
Nigel then makes a very juicy announcement. He explains that so far, the dancers have performed as couples, but starting next week, there will be more of a focus on them as individuals. He will explain further tomorrow night, during the results show. Cat gets all excited and calls this “a twist.” I will have to withhold judgment until we get a little more information. My initial reaction is good, though. I have been thinking that it seems really weird to make them perform as couples all the time (especially with the same partners) when we are looking for an individual winner.
Mary says that even she didn’t know about the twist, and she cackles her horrible cackle. She says that she’s proud that there are three ballroom dancers left on the show. There are? I know about Heidi and Dmitry, but who else is ballroom – Natalie? Benji? Allison? Incidentally, I know I could find this out with a few quick keystrokes, but I have kind of a policy of not doing outside research about this show. It’s more fun for me to write about it when I form my own opinions just based on what I see on the screen. So, please feel free to weigh in. Mary and Cat do some idiotic back-and-forth screaming and fanning themselves, and I don’t know what they’re talking about because they’re making my ears bleed, but I think maybe the gist of it is that Dmitry is hot.
Oh my stars, that Dmitry just gives a girl the vapors.
Cat tries to start a fight when she interviews Brian Friedman. You see, Brian was responsible for that atrocious doll/magician dance that Dmitry and Ashlee had to do last week. Apparently, guest judge Dan Karaty slammed the choreography a bit, saying that the dancers were just running around the stage. Brian answers that…. WAIT A MINUTE. WHAT IS BRIAN FRIEDMAN WEARING???
Oh my God. He’s wearing a suit, with a light gray jacket and a white shirt and a pink pocket square. All of that is pretty ugly, but conventional. But then, the shirt is open halfway down his torso. Okay, tacky, but hey, this is the “dance world,” right? But then – underneath his shirt – he has on this – necklace. Lying on his bare chest. And it’s – red? Huge red beads down to his chest, with a – giant yellow-and-red pendant? And the whole thing is made of – plastic, maybe? And fake jewels? I can feel all of my circuits frying. Please, Brian, I need an explanation of this. Do you belong to some kind of cult? Are you the recipient of a military commendation from the nation of Superfreakistan? Did you win a gold medal at the Disco Olympics? I need to know. NOW.
I just…. I can’t…. I don’t…. I could MAYBE see Joey Tribbiani wearing this.
Okay, um, so Brian is saying something. And, wow, it’s something amazingly condescending and toolish: “To some Americans, it may have looked like they were just running around on the stage, ’cause you know, they’re not trained in contemporary, they don’t know exactly what they’re doing and they don’t understand that…. [Dan Karaty] was speaking for them, and having, you know, the normal guy opinion. But … it kept them out of the bottom three, so I’m happy.” Ouch. I’m not sure whether he meant to say that Americans don’t know anything about contemporary dance, or Dmitry and Ashlee don’t, or Dan Karaty doesn’t, but to me it kind of sounds like he insulted all of the above. Perhaps that accessory is an Asshole Award.
So, if you turned your TV (back) on at 9 p.m. EDT, you would have missed all of the above, but you wouldn’t have missed any of the performances. Natalie and Musa are first, and Musa jokes that he hopes they draw Riverdance. Hey, yeah! They haven’t used anything jig-related on this show yet, have they? I vote for that. Anyway, they draw hip-hop, and they’re going to be choreographed by Dan Karaty. Natalie is wearing a pair of visually painful Boots of Many Colors. Their dance has a plot, and the plot is: Musa wants Natalie, and she toys with him. This is Dan Karaty trying to free-ride off of that legendary chemistry. Musa interviews that a girl wouldn’t toy with him like that in real life – if he wants a girl, he gets her. I have absolutely no trouble believing that.
These boots are made for … well, for appearing on So You Think You Can Dance. I seriously doubt they have another application.
Musa talks about his prowess with the ladies.
They’re dancing to “Promiscuous,” which, probably not coincidentally, was performed live on the show a few weeks back. The dance involves a lot of focus on Natalie’s booty, and she’s still wearing those boots. Booty and boots, all in one convenient package. It’s a great dance, and the best part is that Musa gets to do a bunch of flips, and they seem really organic to the routine.
Nigel repeats the conventional wisdom that Natalie has been carrying Musa in previous weeks, and he says that this week, Musa finally danced great and Natalie mostly had to act, which she did well. Mary agrees that the acting was good, but she unexpectedly slams the dance. She says that it didn’t require that much dancing in sync, but when it did, they were out of sync. Since Musa was finally dancing his own style, he should have hit a home run, but this was a strikeout. Wow, harsh! I thought she was going to say a double or a triple, maybe. The crowd boos.
Brian “Medallion” Friedman says he has wanted to knock Musa technically since week one, but now he can’t. However, he agrees with Mary that the unison was off. As for Natalie, Brian calls her “every video girl,” “sick,” and “ready to work.” My Brian-to-English dictionary tells me that all of this means “good.” Natalie makes Cat blush, literally, when she runs her finger down Musa’s chest during the “vote for us” segment. Yuck.
Why, you cheeky monkey!
Heidi and Ryan draw cha-cha – good for Heidi, bad for Ryan. Their choreographer is Jean-Marc Genereux, who is just as French as his name sounds. Heidi knows him, although I don’t believe we’ve seen him on the show before. Heidi and Jean-Marc put on a little cha-cha clinic and make Ryan feel totally out of it. Ryan passive-aggressively interviews that Heidi is dancing with Jean-Marc, not with him, and is “a great partner.” Ooh – trouble in paradise. Heidi interviews that Ryan is “stressed” and so the pressure is on her to dance perfectly and not mess him up. I don’t think she really gets the concept of “partners.” If your partner is having trouble, you don’t just compensate by jacking up your own individual level of performance. You try to HELP.
Ryan learns to cha-cha.
Ha ha – they have to dance to Tom Jones. Actually, I think that works, unlike Kenny Rogers or Bryan Adams. Luckily, Jean-Marc has choreographed some opportunities for Ryan to shine near the beginning with some pretty amazing leaps and spins. The dance is visually exciting, but there definitely isn’t a lot of unison. Is “unison” the new “pitchy”? I guess the judges will tell us.
This outfit: Not very Mormon.
Yay! Louis von Amstel, a.k.a. the fake Harry Hamlin, is in the crowd. Yes, I watched Dancing with the Stars, and Lisa and Louis were my favorites. (When they got voted off, I stopped watching.) Nigel says that Louis knows how tough it is to do what Ryan just did. Nigel thinks Ryan’s technique was great for someone who just learned the cha-cha, although his performance was not exactly excellent. Nigel gives Heidi a big “wow,” but he tells her not to scrunch up her face because it makes her look like a Cabbage Patch Kid. No, it makes her look like Kimmie Gibler. I think we already established that.
The other Mr. Lisa Rinna.
Mary does the whole “you look great” routine, and then kisses Heidi’s ass about how she’s a “little ball of fire” and can do anything. I expect her to slam Ryan’s technique, but she doesn’t bother; she just says he was sexy. Brian gives Heidi yet more props for her stage presence, and then he agrees with Nigel that Ryan has some mysterious “something missing.” Brian thinks it’s the fact that Ryan doesn’t relax. Maybe.
Allison and Ivan draw contemporary, and Allison does a little jig of happiness. Well, there’s that jig I asked for. Their choreographer is named “Tyce DiOrio.” That sounds like the name of a weird skin condition or something. I don’t believe we’ve seen this choreographer before. Allison and Ivan flop into the room like a couple of adorable puppies. They appear to be having that tiny little goofing-off problem again. Tyce says that Ivan has a real, genuine desire to learn contemporary, but he’s concerned about their maturity.
This is what a “Tyce DiOrio” looks like. If you spot one on your skin after hiking in the woods, see your doctor immediately.
Allison and Ivan dance to one of my favorite songs – “Why,” by Annie Lennox – but this is the type of dance I hate, with dramatic lighting, and baggy black clothes, and “I am a tree”-style movements. It has a lot of pretend kissing, but nothing that actually looks sexy. I agree that Ivan is trying, but I don’t find him at all believable as a dramatic romantic lead, or whatever he’s supposed to be here. He did great as a romantic lead in the tango, when he could be snappy and cool, but this is totally different, and he looks like he just doesn’t get it.
Nigel says Allison’s dancing was beautiful, and he agrees with Mary that Allison will be one of the last few dancers standing. He praises Ivan for his growth, saying that he now dances like a man, not a little boy. Hm – I agree he appears to be better than he was his first week, but I still thought he looked like a kid in that routine. Mary is – huh? Mary is literally crying from the emotional power of that dance. Oh, please. She claims not to be the world’s most mushy person, but I would say this is Exhibit A to the contrary. She calls Ivan “Seabiscuit” again. Really, I thought that dance was bad. I guess this is one of those times that I am severely outnumbered. Brian says he is crying on the inside. Allison is a genius and he can’t say anything negative about her. Ivan has far surpassed Brian’s expectations of him, and he hit beautiful lines, and he was believable as Allison’s lover during that performance. Whatever.
Me Ivan. Me manly.
Dmitry and Ashlee draw pop, which, as we all know, is a word that can mean anything. Dan Karaty tries to clarify by explaining that pop is “like a watered-down version of hip-hop, with maybe some jazz influences.” Okay then. I will just reiterate that from what I’ve seen these past few weeks, “pop” essentially means “dancing like Britney.” Which I like. Rehearsals look kind of sloppy, although Ashlee’s hair looks great.
They perform to a Rihanna song, although not the one she “sang” (cough, cough) on the show. The dance turns out not to be in the same vein as those previous “pop” dances – instead, it’s just a hip-hop routine, as far as I can tell. She’s good, whereas he seems tentative. They have good chemistry, which this dance really shows off in a few places. By the way, Ashlee appears to have a dead possum stapled to the top of her head.
Roadkill as hairstyle.
(Don’t worry – this little guy is just “playing possum.”)
Nigel tells Dmitry that he didn’t seem to display any particular character, and this dance was totally forgettable. Mary boos Nigel and says she completely disagrees. She seems good and liquored up, barking, “It’s supposed to be watered-down hip-hop and that’s exactly what they gave ya!” She loved it. Brian bitchily whines that pop is not watered-down hip-hop, but rather, a mixture of hip-hop and jazz. I mean, is that really true? Because it sounds weird. Brian says twice that it’s not their fault that the routine was bad. Obviously, this is his way of getting back at Dan Karaty for last week’s doll/magician critique. Poor Dmitry and Ashlee are totally getting caught in the sparkly pink crossfire between these two.
Cat, being a hard-hitting journalist, tries to seize on this point. She asks Brian, “What did you think of the actual routine, ’cause that was Dan’s routine?” Brian pretends to take the high road, I guess, by saying, “I’m not going to answer that question. Dan did a great job with this. You guys should have brought more energy to it.” Well, that’s completely inconsistent with what he said three seconds ago. Brian Friedman: incomprehensible on so many levels. Mary slurs, “They did a grrreat job .” Okay, I’m lying about the hiccup, but you know it was spiritually there.
Travis and Martha draw the foxtrot, and they are super-pissed, because they had to do ballroom last week and they got poor reviews for it. They get Jean-Marc Genereux, but this time he has a female assistant, which he did NOT have when he was working with Heidi and Ryan. If he had, there wouldn’t have been all that weird triangulated partner tension. Fishy.
Anyway, Jean-Marc turns out to be a total blast – he puts them at ease right away with his joking around. Travis interviews that Jean-Marc is a “funny little French man” and that Travis is suddenly looking forward to this. Martha calls him a “little French delight.” This all makes me even more annoyed with Heidi. I think she was more interested in impressing Jean-Marc with her cha-cha skills than in setting Ryan at ease, which should have been easy to do. Travis does something that he calls “trotting like a fox,” but it’s actually hopping like a bunny. Aw.
Hop, hop, hop like a bunny!
Travis and Martha’s foxtrot rocks. It’s totally smooth, and they look like they dance ballroom all the time. Yes, I’m sure there is supposed to be all sorts of fancy footwork that they’re not doing, but as a viewer, I’m totally entertained and satisfied. Nigel says the dance was “really lovely” and they shouldn’t be afraid of ballroom anymore, although he does have a couple of minor criticisms pertaining to their shoulders. Mary does the “Martha, you look beautiful” thing, but it’s not a precursor to “You suck” like it usually would be. Overall, she’s very positive. Brian says he was scared when he heard they were doing foxtrot, but it turned out to be really good.
Donyelle and Benji are last. Ew, the show keeps pimping them so hard. Cat talks them up like crazy in her intro. You know how when you watch an NBA game, the announcer just monotones the names of the visiting team off of an index card or something, and then when he introduces the home team, he gets all dramatic and booming, accompanied by an expensive light show? Well, that’s what it reminds me of when Cat announces Donyelle and Benji. The thing is, I love Donyelle and Benji, but the show ramming them down my throat makes me love them less. They draw Broadway. They both like that, because according to them, they are musical theater dorks. Tyce is their choreographer. He gives them a bunch of retro moves like the funky chicken and whatnot.
They perform to “You Can’t Stop the Beat,” from Hairspray. It’s a perky bobby-soxer poodle-skirt kind of routine, and I wonder how closely it mimics what is actually in Hairspray (which I haven’t seen). Donyelle is wearing another piece from the Clothes That Eat People collection. They dance with tons of energy and presence, and it’s fun, but not really my favorite type of dance. Of course, that’s not their fault at all. They’re just as cute as ever.
This pretty much sums it up.
Nigel says Donyelle and Benji are a great couple because they both bring it every week, unlike some couples where one person has to carry the other (*cough* Musa *cough*). Then he says that he thinks it’s stupid to predict who is going to win the competition. Wow, that is a not-at-all-veiled dig at Mary. Then he completely contradicts himself by saying that if Benji doesn’t win, he’ll be very surprised. Then he says the same thing to Donyelle, and falls all over himself some more about how perfect they both are.
Mary is in a cranky mood – maybe her buzz is wearing off. She says she wants to get real: 50 percent of that routine was corny and cheesy; 40 percent was energetic dancing; and 10 percent was making faces. Then she stands up and starts screaming about how 100 percent was absolutely fantastic, and she just completely psyched them out. Nigel stands up along with her, which makes it appear that the two of them planned this, or else maybe Nigel just can’t stand being left out of anything. That’s pretty funny. I guess her buzz isn’t wearing off after all. Mary screams some more and says it was the best routine of the night. Hm – I thought Martha and Travis were better. Brian tells Benji that he didn’t want him in the top twenty, but now he eats his words – Benji is his new favorite guy.
Well, at this point I think it is impossible to guess who is going to be in the bottom three. Not Donyelle and Benji, that’s all I know. But I think everyone else is fair game. Who will go home? And will Cat dress up as next? (Dominatrix? Cheerleader? Fireman?) And what big twist will Nigel announce? Find out … on the next So You Think You Can Dance.