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The So You Think You Can Dance results show feels all snuggly and welcoming after my long absence. Just to make me feel even more at home, Cat is back to dressing in Jungle Fug, with a hideous, hideous dress that looks like it has two dead pythons stapled to its front, and a weird tail of hair down over one shoulder. She also has a snake bracelet around her upper arm. It’s all very “You Tarzan, Me Jayne.” She says that tonight the “jidges” will cut one more girl and one more guy.
Oh, hot DAMN. The opening dance is the best I’ve seen yet. It’s set to “Footloose,” and the guys come out first, in jeans and boots and sunglasses, looking very cool, with dramatic lighting. The girls are wearing jeans too, but they all have on different tops. The dance starts out as country line dancing, but later they start doing flips and stuff. They may have done other group performances that have been more technically spectacular, but this one has everything I love most – boys versus girls; matching outfits; dancing in unison; acrobatics; the dancers mugging for the camera; and an ’80s theme. It’s so cheesy and awesome, and as usual I wish the show did more of these numbers.
Cat comes out and tells us that Mary Murphy choreographed that routine, which makes me love Mary Murphy. Then Cat says that last night the viewers voted in the millions. This suggests that more people are voting as time goes on, since Nigel referred at one point to “hundreds of thousands of votes.” I hope Cat is not lying about the millions of votes. I have not felt the slightest bit moved to vote myself, but I have been firmly brainwashed into believing that everyone should watch this show.
The judges, back from last night, are Nigel, Mary, and Dan Karaty. Mary is also dressed in Jungle Fug this evening, with an awful leopard-print top of some kind. I have never understood why people want to look as though they’ve skinned an endangered animal and wrapped themselves snugly in its pelt. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why I am not a famous television star like Cat Deeley or Mary Murphy.
Cat asks Nigel for a clarification of the meltdown that he had last week over the laziness of some of the solo dancers. Nigel would like us all to know that he was not knocking the dancers for improvising, per se. I’m glad to have the clarification, because I definitely thought that’s what he was doing. He says that if you want to improvise, that’s fine, but you have to at least think about it beforehand and have a general idea of what you’re going to do. Makes sense.
Nigel does not really address the fact that he came off as a bit of a psycho when he reamed the audience for laughing last week. As I recall, he told us sternly that we should take this more seriously, because the contestants are supposed to be “dancing for their lives.” Yes, and when I think about the concept of someone dancing for his or her life, it automatically cracks me up, so somehow I don’t think Nigel really made his case. Sure, I was scared when he started stabbing the air with his pen, but I never really felt what he was trying to teach me about the possibility that we might all die if we blow off these solo dances.
It’s interesting that whenever Nigel feels that he’s been misunderstood on some point, he goes out of his way to clarify it on a subsequent episode of the show. He apologized for calling Aleks the Corpse Bride, and now he’s clearing up his position on improvisation. The other judges don’t do this. I wonder if they’re allowed to. I actually like it – for one thing, it makes it seem like he’s paying attention to the show.
Nigel ends his remarks with some rather pointed comments about how the solo dancers can’t “just pirouette” (Ben) or fall off the stage (James “Jaymz” Tuaileva). The audience boos. Really now, people. Does James “Jaymz” Tuaileva really have a fan base that is so rabid – er, I mean, so dedicated – that they have a problem with Nigel calling him on FALLING OFF THE STAGE? I bet Celine Dion wouldn’t put up with him falling off the stage. If he did that in her show, he’d be fed to Siegfried and Roy’s tigers within six minutes of the curtain falling.
Cat interviews Mary about the dancers’ schedule being very strenuous. Mary says that the schedule is so insane that a lot of them are injured, and that by watching the “Footloose” dance, you wouldn’t be able to tell who has a back injury, and who has an almost-broken toe, and who has “a knee out.” Well, we already know that Donyelle has the toe, because Nigel spilled about that last night. (By the way, I don’t understand how a toe can be “almost broken.” Isn’t that like being a little bit pregnant?) Mary says that the schedule wasn’t like this last year. Um, if they changed the schedule and made it more packed and it is resulting in injuries, I can’t say that I view that as an improvement. How about, let’s see, changing it back?
Cat asks which dancers have the aforementioned injuries. This is kind of a cheesy way of bringing out this information – in interview form, with Cat feigning surprise. I’m not sure whether I think there should be an injury report at all. To me, it smacks of trying to curry votes for whomever is injured. But then, weirdly, Mary doesn’t answer the question, and we move on.
Dan is asked whether he thinks that some couples are really lopsided in ability, with one partner carrying or dragging down the other. Wow, these questions are actually more hard-hitting than I would expect. I mean, they’re totally scripted, but they tell it like it is a little bit. Dan says that Natalie kind of carries Musa, and that Jessica let James “Jaymz” Tuaileva down last night. I can’t say I noticed that – what I noticed was that their routine was boring and sucky, and I hated them just like I always do. But I didn’t notice him dancing better than she did. I guess it could have happened, though.
We get some backstage footage from before the performance show. Benji expresses concern about the fact that his costume includes a strap between the legs, and he thinks it’s going to crush his merchandise. I wonder how that turned out for him – somehow I don’t think we’re going to get a follow-up report. Then we see the standard recap of everything that happened last night. There’s an extra little clip thrown in of Natalie and Musa backstage, interviewing that America should vote for them because they’re hot and have chemistry. Jeez. This is just as bad as Jessica announcing that she has a personality. Show, don’t tell.
After the commercial, we move to the elimination portion of the show, and for the first time, I don’t feel like there has been a soul-destroying amount of filler beforehand. It may have been the same number of minutes as usual, but between the awesome opening dance routine and the actually interesting Q&A with the judges, I have this unfamiliar sense of much of that extra time having been well spent. Kudos, show.
First to be called up are Natalie/Musa and Donyelle/Benji. Natalie rubs Musa’s arm when Cat attempts to crush his spirit by repeating the judges’ criticism. Cat also rags on Donyelle for mispronouncing “Viennese.” Cat is in a feisty mood tonight. Both of these couples are safe, just like always.
Cat calls up Travis/Martha, Heidi/Ryan, and Jessica/James “Jaymz” Tuaileva. She’s generally pretty harsh with her callbacks to all of the worst things that the judges have ever said about all of them. Travis and Martha are safe. Wow – that actually surprises me. Heidi claps like a seal when this is announced, and I can’t help feeling that this degree of clapping is a little bit fake, because her own odds just got a lot worse. The other two couples are NOT safe. Huh. I think Heidi is one of the best dancers on the show, but here she is in the bottom three again. Oh well – she bugged me with her ghetto princess act last night, so I’m not complaining.
Meanwhile, I suddenly notice that Jessica is once again dressed in a bustier and a pair of underpants. This girl wears less clothing than anyone I have ever seen. I don’t really get it. There’s certainly nothing bad about her body, but it doesn’t exactly make me think “wow, sexy,” either. Usually when I look at her, I think, “wow, short.” News flash: Not wearing pants does not make your legs look longer.
The last two couples are Ashlee/Dmitry and Allison/Ivan. I think we know where this is headed. Cat reminds us that last night, Mary predicted Allison as the winner of the entire show. I actually failed to notice that last night, but this is now the second time they’ve repeated it tonight, so I’m pretty clear on it now, thanks. I guess I could see Allison winning – she’s very good and very sparkly. Anyway, she and Ivan are obviously safe, and…. Oh my God. I’m totally wrong! I actually have to hit backspace because I was so sure that Ashlee and Dmitry were back in the bottom three where they always are. Instead, Allison and Ivan will dance for their lives, along with Heidi, Ryan, Jessica, and James “Jaymz” Tuaileva.
Wow – that’s an interesting bottom six. My first thought is that Jessica is toast – through various cruel twists of fate, she’s going up against two of the best female dancers on the show. With the guys, it looks like a toss-up. All three have put up weak dances for their lives in the past. I feel like James “Jaymz” Tuaileva actually has an advantage, because Nigel gave him such a tongue-lashing about being unprepared last week that he must be hella prepared now. Oh, James “Jaymz” Tuaileva, please fail to live up to my expectations.
Dmitry and Ashlee hug and he lifts her way up off the stage. It’s cute that he likes her so much. Mary says she’s totally in shock that Allison is in the bottom group. How does Mary do that trick where she talks, but her mouth is wide open and her teeth are exposed the entire time? She’s like the opposite of a ventriloquist. Anyway, she’s allegedly speechless. Nigel says that he’s not quite as surprised, because Allison and Ivan were kind of boring. Those aren’t his exact words, but that’s the gist of it. This seems like revisionist history to me, because I’m pretty sure he gushed about the dance last night. As for myself, I can’t really comment because the only thing I noticed about that dance was the pants. They blinded me to everything else happening onstage. In fact, I am going to go on record right now with my theory that Allison is in the bottom group because of those pants, nothing more, nothing less. Ah, the power of trousers.
They dance for their lives, and Jessica goes first. She does ballet – spins, jumps, kicks, pointe, with a few saucy non-ballet hip wiggles thrown in. It’s better than she did last week, I think. Jessica interviews that she thinks she’s in the bottom six because she isn’t great at hip-hop, basically. Fair enough. I can’t help but notice that she isn’t filling up that bustier. Seriously, who dresses this woman? Does she have a five-year-old stylist who practices on her Barbies?
Next is James “Jaymz” Tuaileva. Oh my God, what is he doing? He’s trying to impersonate Dmitry, is what he’s doing. He has a red cloth like a matador, and he’s doing a whole matador thang, to some weird melodramatic drums. He has on a Dmitry-style black vest and black pants. This is all very Single White Female – I’m afraid he’s going to throw Dmitry’s puppy out of a window. Unfortunately, he can’t dance like Dmitry, and his routine ends up mostly amounting to a bunch of spins and jumps. It’s lame, except when he does a hard-core split at the end. Cat asks him whether his routine was inspired by Nigel’s criticism last week, and he says no – he “just woke up and said, ‘I’m gonna do some paso. Let’s do it.’” Hey, James “Jaymz” Tuaileva, were you having a dream about Dmitry right before you woke up and said that? Just wondering.
Heidi is next. She dances to Tina Turner singing “Proud Mary,” and she decides to just copy Tina Turner. Every single move she does is a move that Tina Turner would do (if she physically could). I think maybe Tina Turner’s puppy should look out too. Also, Heidi is wearing a dress that is cut from the same evil cloth as Allison’s pants from last night. Seriously, it’s the same exact thing, a tube with so much fringe on it that when you spin, you double in size. I think this is Heidi’s worst routine ever, and it showcases none of her talents.
Ryan does the same kind of dance he always does, with lots of leaping and nice extensions. He changes it up by trying to make it more soulful, with some slow R&B music and a little bare-chested writhing around. I always think that Ryan is perfectly fine, if never spectacular, and this is no exception. I kind of like him, but I don’t think it’s weird for him to be in the bottom three guys. Cat asks Ryan about tension between him and Heidi, but he says she’s great. He interviews that he loves being on the show. Not that exciting, but it’s cute when he smiles.
Allison goes next and her dance kind of confuses me, because she’s just trying to do as many moves as she can possibly fit into one minute, even though her music is slooooow and acoustic. I think she successfully showcases her technical ability with this solo, but totally fails when it comes to putting together something that’s easy and fun to watch. Allison interviews that all the contestants are great dancers and it’s a crazy rollercoaster being on the show. I’m starting to think she might be just a tiny bit boring.
Ivan is last. He does a fun little hip-hop dance. It’s exactly the opposite of Allison’s – it’s very entertaining to watch, but doesn’t display that much physical prowess. I like it, though. I mean, his job is to entertain me. Ivan is goofy and young in his interview, offering to shine the judges’ shoes. Cat sends the judges backstage and brings out Ne-Yo.
Y’all, I am embarrassed to admit this, but I don’t even know who Ne-Yo is. His song is called “Sexy Love,” and it’s fine, and he doesn’t lip-sync. Ne-Yo is wearing a fedora, which I always like. I notice he’s a pretty good dancer his own damn self. I wonder whether I am the only person who doesn’t know who he is, or whether the show has already exhausted its supply of famous musical guests. I mean, there’s a certain level of fame that’s all they can shoot for. Nelly Furtado, Rihanna, Natasha Bedingfield – I know all of these people, but it’s not like they’re about to book Beyoncé next week or something, you know? I guess we are probably building to a big finale in which the musical guest will be Celine Dion. Um, I have this feeling I might be out sick that week.
Cat interviews Ne-Yo and says that Sexy Love is “taken from the album called … ?”, in a way where you can tell that she doesn’t know what the album is called. Ne-Yo says the album is called “In My Own Words,” and then he lists a whole bunch of other singers who are going to be on his tour with him, and I don’t know who they are either. I guess this is just a genre issue. We cut to the judges busily deliberating on a crappy-looking staircase backstage, which I think is funny. I always assumed they were outside smoking, but if they’re not, why can’t they at least have a table to sit at? I guess that wasn’t in the budget.
There are commercials, and then the judges are back, and it’s time to break it all down. There are only ten minutes left, which bums me out because I really want Nigel to tear somebody to shreds in great detail. We waste one of our ten precious minutes on flashbacks to the solo dances we JUST saw. The girls are on the chopping block first. Nigel says that the judges want to congratulate all six dancers for actually trying hard, and that this is the first time they’ve ever thought that everybody tried. I agree.
Nigel asserts that the judges are in full agreement about both of this week’s ejections. He calls Allison up first, meaning that she’s safe. He tells her that she’s one of the best contestants, can dance all styles, and has stage presence. She is, in fact, safe. Jessica is up next. Nigel congratulates her on being the first person to do pointe work on the show. I have to admit that that was impressive. He then tells her that she doesn’t have a personality. Word. He sends her back without doing the big reveal.
Heidi is up last. Nigel confirms the obvious fact that Heidi does, indeed, have a personality. He suggests that Jessica needs to be shocked with jumper cables. This causes Jessica to look sad. Then Nigel says that Heidi sometimes overdoes it, which is totally true. On the other hand, he says her “jive technique” was great tonight. So that dance was called “jive”? Really, I just thought it was called “Tina Turner.” Anyway, as was obvious from the get-go, Heidi is safe and Jessica is booted off the show. In her flashback clip, she appears oddly personality-filled. Huh. As you know, I didn’t watch the auditions, so now I’m left wondering what happened to extract Jessica’s life force between then and now. Cat calls Jess a “gorgeous, special girl.” Ick.
Whew! One down, one to go. There is another commercial and my hopes for a time-consuming burst of Nigel insanity trickle away. After the commercial, we see Jessica standing alone in a corner of the stage and crying. Ouch – that’s no fun. We flash back to the guys’ solos, and I really cannot predict which one of them will be leaving – I thought they were all of about the same quality.
Nigel says that when he said earlier that the judges were unanimous, that wasn’t quite true, because Mary had to be talked around to his and Dan’s point of view. He calls James “Jaymz” Tuaileva up first, and my heart sinks, because this has got to mean that he is safe. Not only is he safe, but either Heidi or Allison is going to be saddled with him next week. Well, I hope it’s Heidi; she seems like the more annoying of the two. But still: How can he not leave? This is cruel. These judges have no concern whatsoever for my psychological well-being.
Nigel asks James “Jaymz” Tuaileva if it’s true that his specialties are lyrical and hip-hop. James “Jaymz” Tuaileva claims that he also does ballroom. It seems that the truth of this response may be in dispute, as Nigel says that all of the judges found it strange that he would choose to dance a paso doble. Ah, but it worked so well for Dmitry! Nigel thinks James “Jaymz” Tuaileva should have danced his strongest style rather than experimenting. And then, yay, he sends him back into the line rather than telling him he’s safe. There’s still hope. Maybe this is the moment where Nigel decides to mix it up on us.
Ryan is called forward. Nigel says that last week, he fought for Ben and lost. Ah, so that explains what Nigel meant last week when he said it wasn’t unanimous. Interesting, when Nigel savaged Ben so hard. Also, it means that Nigel wanted to boot James “Jaymz” Tuaileva instead. Oh, Nigel, will you marry me? I lose the plot with Nigel a bit through this part, but he seems to be saying that Ryan is like Ben in that his solo showed relatively more technique and less engagement with the audience. Ryan is sent back into the line.
Now Ivan. Nigel says that Ivan is not a great dancer yet, except for when he dances his own style of hip-hop. He tells him that if he hadn’t danced great tonight, he would have been cut, but he did dance great, and so he is safe. Oh, yay. Nigel, you make me so happy. Allison gives Ivan the biggest hug ever, and the crowd goes wild.
Nigel calls Ryan up again and tells him that Mary wanted to vote him off tonight, but Nigel and Dan saved him. And – OH MY GOD! JAMES “JAYMZ” TUAILEVA IS OFF THE SHOW! There should be fireworks, and a parade, and speeches, and confetti, and a brass band. Nigel psyched me out and I love him for it. This is the greatest outcome ever on this show. The only sad part is that there won’t be any re-partnering, but that is oh-so-worth-it. James “Jaymz” Tuaileva’s clip package shows him dancing on top of a dumpster. How apropos. And now, I will never, ever, ever have to type that name again.