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Oh, how I love the results show of So You Think You Can Dance. We get to cut down this ridiculous, bloated cast, moving us ever closer to our noble goal of … um, finding somebody a job backup dancing for Celine Dion. We get to watch the soloists twist in the wind, frequently in atrocious clothing, with no one to stand in front of them and hide their shame. Nigel stops trying to suppress his rage, with results that are often quite delicious. Best of all, the results show is only one hour long. One sweet, crisp, concise little hour. On Thursdays, the television gods are kind.
The opening number makes me grin, as the girls all come out in matching red tracksuits and the boys in black ones. They dance to “Poison” by Bell Biv DeVoe, once again confirming that this show’s aesthetic sensibility is firmly planted in 1991, which is what makes it so much fun to watch.Cat ruins my fun by wearing a simple, unobjectionable black dress with a white bodice. Apparently, no one liked my idea about the panda suit, or maybe this is just a very subtle homage. Her hair is a little overly formal; she kind of looks like she’s going to prom.
I settle in for several eons of boredom waiting for the important part of the show to start. Sure enough, we start with a recap of last night, which, as usual, includes just enough new footage to prevent me from actually fast-forwarding through it. The show bashes us over the head with the theme of “Natalie and Musa are really a couple,” with Cat voicing over that some couples “seemed like they’ve been together forever” over some pretty non-revealing footage of Musa offering Natalie a glass of water. Wow, racy. If that’s the best they could do for couple-y footage, maybe these two are actually not together after all.
In the flashbacks, Aleks claims to be excited before her dance, but as usual she appears to have an iron pole rammed up her spine. We see more evidence that Dmitry backs Aleks in a way he never did with Joy, as he defends her performance backstage after the judging. Natalie crosses herself before the quick step. Hee.
We get a repeat of Nigel drooling all over himself as he waxes poetic to Ryan about “the way you beat her bongos! God!” Heidi quietly takes out a restraining order. Allison and Ivan are adorably exuberant backstage after getting big, wet, sloppy kisses from the judges. Figurative ones, that is. Had to clarify that, because you never know with this show.
We go to commercial without a single thing having happened, and when we come back, the judges talk about how great everyone was last night. Mary singles out Ivan, comparing him to Seabiscuit. Nigel tells us that Ivan got a congratulatory phone call from his dad at six this morning, and he forces Ivan to elaborate. Ivan tells us that his dad was “kind of like whatever” about his dance career up until last night, but now he’s much more supportive.
There is a cute story about Ivan’s dad’s co-workers sitting him down at work and making him watch the whole show with them. I don’t know where Ivan’s dad works, but I like that visual. I think I like it best if he’s, say, a mechanic or a welder. Then everybody at Ivan’s dad’s work could get inspired by the show and spontaneously break into a choreographed dance routine, and it would be just like Flashdance, or that Simpsons episode with the gay steel mill. Oops, I didn’t mean to suggest that Ivan’s dad works in a gay steel mill. Where am I? I think I forgot to take my medication.
Nigel says that hearing about Ivan’s dad’s new-found supportiveness is what “makes this program worthwhile” for Nigel. Yes, because this show is really all about bringing families together. Finally, Nigel’s true agenda is revealed. Next thing you know he’ll be adopting Cambodian orphans left and right. If you, as a viewer, have been feeling guilty about wasting three hours a week watching this show, this should set your mind at ease: It’s actually public-service programming.
Finally we get to the initial lineup. We start with the two couples that did the amazing Latin dances; that choreographer should be so proud of himself. Allison and Ivan are safe. Heidi and Ryan are safe. That’s cool, because both of these couples have been in the bottom three before, so at least some of the voting is based on the dancing and not on popularity. There’s a funny moment where Ryan gets caught on Heidi’s mike or her dress or something, and they have to run off of center stage literally tethered together.
In keeping with the generally retro feel of the show (and the fact that she looks like ’80s sitcom actress Kimberly Russell), Ashlee is wearing her Debbie Gibson hat. Ashlee and Ben are NOT safe – they have to go stand “in the danger zone.” Martha and Travis are safe, despite the fact that all the judges seemed to feel they had one of the weakest routines of the night.
Jessicker and James “Jaymz” Tuaileva are in the bottom three. Yay! Donyelle and Benji are safe, just like you knew they would be. The last two couples up are Natalie/Musa and Dmitry/Aleks. I think I know where this is headed. Musa is wearing a ridiculous red, yellow, and green ensemble. It looks more clown-like than ethnically inspired. Unsurprisingly, Natalie and Musa are safe, while Dmitry and Aleks are in the bottom three, again.
Nigel says he thinks America got it right. Mary is surprised that Jessica and James “Jaymz” Tuaileva are in the bottom three; she thinks Musa should have been there instead. Olisa just says that “America voted, so it is what it is.” Ah, America. With one hand ye giveth and with the other ye taketh away. Verily, we should not question you in your infinite wisdom.
Ashlee is the first to “dance for [her] life.” She is wearing what I would call an unfortunate ensemble, with the aforementioned Debbie Gibson hat, long black pinstriped sparkly suit pants, and a long black pinstriped sparkly blazer. She loses the blazer partway through, but it’s only a one-minute routine, so I would have preferred that she ditch it sooner. Her dance is very Moonwalk-era MJ. I really like it; I hope she stays.
Ashlee is awesome in her interview, blaming her presence in the bottom three on her lack of formal technique instead of on the obvious truth that her partner was a liability in a hip-hop routine. She displays huge confidence in the dance she just did, saying, “This is how you pop. This is how you do it.”
Ben does a contemporary dance. It’s to a Lifehouse song – yuck. The dance is 99 percent composed of spins. The spins are very good, but man cannot live on spins alone, Ben. Goodness, this recap is really racking up the Biblical allusions. I think it would be okay if Ben went home. He’s completely tongue-tied in his interview.
Jessica is better than I thought she would be, dancing a fairly acrobatic routine to the Michael Bublé version of “Fever.” I don’t love it – sometimes it strikes me as more of a gymnastics floor exercise routine than a dance – but it’s definitely okay. In her interview, she seems to be addressing allegations that she lacks personality. She rebuts these by announcing that she is from Miami, is Cuban-Italian, and is loud. Yes, but Jessica. If you have to announce that you have a lot of personality, then that kind of means you don’t. I’m just saying – this seems like a no-brainer, when it comes to actions speaking louder than words.
Is Cat Deeley really only 5’9″? I remember somebody posted that in the comments. If that’s true, it’s astonishing, because Jessica only comes partway up her shoulder. I know dancers are usually small, but are they really THAT short?
James “Jaymz” Tuaileva performs after the commercial. His performance is very similar to Ben’s. He dances to Yellowcard, instead of Lifehouse. Is there a difference? James “Jaymz” Tuaileva also relies heavily on spins, but he mixes it up more; there’s even a part where he rolls around on the floor. It’s hard for me to say which of the two was better – Ben’s spins were a little faster and better, but James “Jaymz” Tuaileva definitely showed more variety. Still, I’m pretty sure you know which one of them I’m hoping to send packing.
Oh, Aleks. Right off the bat you can see that she’s stepped up her game this week by choosing not to dress like a panhandler. Other than that, though, there are a few too many things that remind me of last week’s trainwreck. The music is sad and moody again; she’s dressed in black again; her routine once again seems slightly tormented, although she does do some jumps and stuff that lighten it up. She smiles more this time, but her whole mood as a dancer is just so clinically depressed. She should have those fake tears tattooed on her face, with heavy black eyeliner. She’s just a downer, not fun.
Aleks interviews that she knows she messed up last week, and she hopes the judges will continue to keep her around. She actually half convinces me that she wants to stay on this show. It’s funny – I get very mixed signals from her on that. By the way, she has some kind of tinfoil-looking stuff in her hair. I’m confused – she’s really beautiful, yet she consistently does her best to look as disheveled as possible.
Dmitry crushes my hopes and dreams when he comes out NOT wearing a dress. Come on, don’t you think it would be cool if that became his thing? A different dress every week? I mean, the judges loved it, so why not? Anyway, he strolls out in black pants and an unbuttoned shirt, and he does a Latin thing with crazy footwork and pelvic thrusts, and even some moves that are break-dance inspired – wow, this is great. No way did he improvise that.
As soon as I see Dmitry’s dance, it hits me that it is not at all smart to improvise these dances for one’s life. It seems that some of the dancers do improvise and others don’t, but why wouldn’t you have something planned, just in case? If your competition really puts on a show like Dmitry just did, and you just come out and spin, you’re going to be at a huge disadvantage. When you’re improvising, the impulse is always going to be to fall back on your strengths and not necessarily showcase variety. Just my 2 cents as an extreme NON-dancer. (The one thing I don’t get is that Heidi said she improvised last week, and she was amazing. But I’m still not altering my theory.)
Cat baits Dmitry by asking him whether he thinks he keeps ending up in the bottom three because he has crappy partners. Dmitry is classy in response, saying that you dance as a couple, and you rise or fall together, and it’s never one person’s fault, and all that jazz. Of course, since he’s a competitive ballroom dancer, he’s presumably had this concept drilled into his brain from a very early age, so I have no doubt he actually believes it. But it’s still noticeable how much cooler he is with Aleks than he was with Joy. I wonder what the story is there. Joy seemed nice enough when she and Dmitry weren’t bickering. Who knows.
While the judges are deliberating, Natasha Bedingfield performs, and she is … not wearing shorts! I feel like I have achieved a moral victory. She has positioned herself slightly farther along the shorts-pants continuum by wearing capris, which look good on her. She doesn’t lip-sync, and she’s pretty good. It’s that song about being single. She manages to get through the whole thing without doing anything to bug me. That is no fun because there’s really nothing to recap. After, it’s funny to hear Cat talking to someone who also has an English accent.
Nigel says that the judges are unanimous about which girl to send home, implying that they’re split on the boys. He calls Ashlee forward first, meaning she is totally safe. He says the judges feel she is a different person when she’s wearing her bowler hat. The Debbie Gibson hat is magical, y’all! It gives Ashlee her mojo. Nigel says all the judges feel that Ashlee is growing every week, and so they want to keep her around. I approve.
They call Jessica up next and there is a weird moment when Ben tries to step up too and then has to apologize. Nigel tells Jessica that she’s kind of middle-of-the-road, and he agrees with me that you can’t just, like, explain to everyone that you have a personality. Then he calls up Aleks and I put on my fireproof suit. But wait, what’s this? Nigel is apologizing to Aleks! He says that when he watched the show back last night, he decided that he had crossed the line with his comments. He means the Corpse Bride thing, and it is true that he was far harder on her than the other judges were.
Nigel says that Aleks gave up with her solo last week, but this week she did much better. He praises her for putting effort into that, and he tells her that very shortly, somebody else is going to be cut for doing a bad solo. Ah, what a tasty bit of foreshadowing – at this point, I think he probably means Ben, but I’m still holding out hope that he means James “Jaymz” Tuaileva.
Nigel continues, explaining that Aleks, by contrast, is not being cut for her solo, but for her entire body of work. Oh, SNAP. That was a great speech by Nigel; it had all kinds of crazy twists and turns. Aleks appears resigned. Yeah, it was time. Even in her goodbye montage, you can see that she never seems totally happy – always kind of reserved. Aw. Good luck, Aleks; I hope you find something to perk you up. You didn’t really want to work for Celine Dion anyway, did you?
After the commercials, Nigel calls Dmitry forward and points out what we were all thinking, which is that Dmitry has just lost another partner. Nigel says he worries about this, but he doesn’t explain why. I guess he means that Dmitry faces an extra challenge in adjusting to yet another new partner, but I’m sure that from Dmitry’s perspective, the possibility that he may end up with a partner who doesn’t suck makes it well worth the effort of switching. Obviously, Dmitry isn’t going home. I secretly hope he’ll get another crappy partner so that he can keep coming back to the bottom three and we can all keep watching his solos. That’s one thing about this show that bums me out – we never get to see solos by most of the best dancers, just by the ones who end up at the bottom.
Then Nigel pulls a new trick, calling Ashlee up to make her talk about Ben. Nigel is in a really reflective mood when it comes to his critiques from last night; he reminds us that he said Ben wasn’t street enough. Actually, he said something lame about how the only street Ben was from was Rodeo Drive, but he has enough sense not to repeat that part now. Ashlee handles it great just like you knew she would, saying that Ben did a great job last night and he’s a great partner.
Now we get a moment that’s actually kind of uncomfortable, as Nigel asks Ben how much work he put into his solo tonight. Ben unfortunately says, “Um, well, zero,” and even more unfortunately emphasizes this by making a zero with his hand. Then he starts trying to qualify it by saying something else, but Nigel cuts him off and says that’s all he wanted to hear.
The audience laughs, and Nigel is really angry; he smacks down the audience for thinking it’s funny that Ben put “zero effort into fighting for his life…. If you were asked to fight for your life, would you put zero work into it?” Huh. It seems like maybe nobody ever explained to Nigel that the phrase “fight for your life” is, sadly, not meant literally in the context of this show. He’s incensed to a degree that suggests he thinks Ben is actually going to the lions the moment we go off-air.
James “Jaymz” Tuaileva is called up and asked the same question, with Nigel laying it out at the start by saying he didn’t think his solo was very good. James “Jaymz” Tuaileva replies that he did prepare something, but his nerves got the best of him, and he himself feels that he was awful. He wins a few points with me for his honesty here. Ben, on the other hand, has been acting all hour as though he doesn’t take the whole thing seriously. I realize this is just nerves manifesting in a different way, but it makes Ben look bad.
Nigel rants and raves about how if any of the dancers think they’re safe for next week, they’re not, and anyone who thinks he or she can just turn up at the last minute and choreograph something is an idiot. Word. Nigel says he is ashamed of both boys, and that if Ben thinks that “seven pirouettes going into [something]” is going to keep him in the competition, he’s wrong, and what James “Jaymz” Tuaileva did wasn’t good enough either.
Nigel says that his colleagues have decided that overall, James “Jaymz” Tuaileva has more growth potential than Ben does, and so Ben is going home. Oh, no. I can’t possibly keep typing James “Jaymz” Tuaileva for another week, so I am going to have to rechristen this guy yet again. And right then, my FauxVo cuts out. I scheduled it for an extra minute past the hour, but apparently that wasn’t good enough. Damn you, Fox! This is really depressing, because Nigel was on a roll, and God knows what else he said. I do hope somebody who saw it will enlighten us in the comments.
The last thing I heard Nigel say struck me as kind of odd, because earlier he implied that the judges were split on which guy to send home, and now he’s saying that his “colleagues” want to keep James “Jaymz” Tuaileva. So that means that Nigel himself wanted to keep Ben? That’s surprising, given the way he just savaged him, but Nigel has certainly shown himself to be unpredictable, in a good way.
I am really, really looking forward to seeing the new pairing of Dmitry and Ashlee. I like them both a lot, but obviously he is one of the most highly trained dancers and she’s one of the most highly UNtrained. It’s tough for me to imagine her doing a waltz much better than Aleks or Joy could do it, but I think she has a stronger sense of adventure and will really put her all into it. And if they draw hip-hop and she has to help Dmitry along, that will be great fun to watch too. I can’t believe I am eagerly awaiting the next episode of this show, but there you have it. See you then!