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This week on the So You Think You Can Dance results show, the judges will have to cut someone I like for the first time. Onward and upward! The opening number is a disco extravaganza. It’s the clothes that make this one. Travis has a sparkly lavender jumpsuit. Ivan is a sparkly pimp. Dmitry is wearing a gold lamé shirt with white pants and suspenders. Ashlee has ironed hair and a one-legged FloJo-style yellow-orange jumpsuit; she looks a little like old-school Cher. Ryan is bare-chested with an open jacket and tons of medallions. Everyone else’s clothes are A-plus too. However, I can’t say I think that much of the dance. I now agree with the commenter who pointed out that disco numbers are not where we see the best dancing.
I had various guesses about what type of atrocity Cat might don for tonight, but I was way off. I don’t even know what to call this thing. A Slinky? A roll of tinfoil? A spacesuit? It’s a very short dress, and it’s dark gray with metallic gold stripes, and the stripes are horizontal, and it’s baggy with short sleeves. It makes her look about twenty pounds heavier than usual, not that that hurts her any. But really, it’s shockingly ugly. I would like to know whether she picks these clothes herself, or what.
Cat says that we’re going to lose one guy and one girl tonight, and I am suddenly a little shocked. Wait a minute – she’s right! And none of these contestants suck! I don’t know how to feel! She says there were millions of votes cast last night – the highest total ever, more than for last year’s season finale. Again, I hope she’s telling the truth about this. I would love to see the general public get really frenzied about this show as the weeks progress. Obviously, it’s no American Idol, but maybe it could aspire to be the next Dancing with the Stars?
Cat introduces the judges, and for the first time, I am intensely interested in finding out what a male judge on this show is going to wear. I don’t think there is any way that Brian can top that piece of jewelry that he was wearing last night. Turns out he’s wearing a velvet blazer and a shirt with a stand-up collar. It looks like he has about twenty chains around his neck, but I’m pretty sure it’s just a pattern on his shirt this time. Sure, it’s an ugly outfit, but there’s nothing like that necklace, which will haunt my dreams for years to come.
Mary is all sexed up tonight, with a yellow shawl thing and tons of cleavage. I actually think this is a better look for her than all of those strange, tight, high-necked tops she’s been wearing, but there must be some sort of happy medium between covering yourself up to your chin and letting your whole chest hang out on national television. Cat asks Mary about the fact that Donyelle was not in the opening dance due to her foot injury. Oh no! I didn’t notice that. Mary jacks up the melodrama by pointing out that when a dancer is injured, he or she has no job security and might never dance again for the rest of his or her life. We don’t get any more deets on Donyelle, though.
Brian interviews that the dancers have progressed a lot since auditions. He singles out Musa and Ivan for praise in this regard. Then there is a lame standard-issue recap of last night. As usual, there are some bits and pieces of new footage. The most entertaining part is when Natalie and Allison play-fight for the camera, saying they are going to be Kerrigan-Harding redux. Wow, if only that were true.
Cat brings the dancers back out, this time in what I assume are their own clothes that they’ve chosen for their possible solos. I try to watch Donyelle and it does look like she might be limping. Then Nigel drops the big bombshell that he promised us last night. He says that as of next week, the contestants will no longer be dancing with their established partners. Instead, they will randomly choose partners, just as they randomly choose dance styles. I have to say, this is pretty weak, as shocking revelations go. For one thing, I’ve been told that this is how they did it last year, for the whole season. If the producers were going to revert to having the dancers choose partners randomly, I wonder why they bothered to keep established pairings for the first few weeks. Is this an admission that this season’s system turned out not to make sense?
Now, there are some other changes coming, and these will be more dramatic. First of all, as of next week, viewers will vote for individuals, not for partners. That should definitely shake things up. And second, next week each new partnership will do two dances, AND each individual will do a solo. What the? How are they going to fit all of that into two hours? Unless I’m counting wrong, that comes out to twenty performances total – ten partnered and ten solo. I don’t think there have ever been more than ten performances before in a two-hour show. I guess this means the end of filler, so I am delighted, although we will have to wait and see how things actually play out.
Finally, Nigel announces the biggest change of all. Starting next week, the guy and girl with the lowest vote totals will be sent home. The part of the show where the judges choose from among the bottom three will be gone. Hm – I don’t think I like that. I like it when they dance for their lives! Also, what will the results show be? A solid hour of all the filler that’s no longer in the performance show, with the results announced at the end? Nigel grins a maniacal death-mask grin at the end of his announcement. Perhaps he doesn’t like being made irrelevant.
The first two couples up on the chopping block are Donyelle/Benji and Ashlee/Dmitry. Ashlee’s hair looks pretty cool. Donyelle and Benji are safe, so I guess we’re never going to find out what would have happened if she had been required to dance for her life with that foot injury. Ashlee and Dmitry are not safe and will be dancing for survival.
Next up are Martha/Travis and Heidi/Ryan. Heidi’s dress is just fugly. It looks like she stood still and let somebody drape pink and purple rags all over her. She also has a bad frizzed-out hairstyle, although I realize that is left over from the disco routine. Martha and Travis are in the bottom three. Heidi and Ryan appear genuinely shocked. They are safe. That seems weird, since they weren’t safe last week, and they didn’t dance better this week. I guess I’m glad not to have to watch a frenetic Heidi solo performed in that nasty dress.
Last up are Allison/Ivan and Natalie/Musa. Cat calls them forward and then burns us, and especially them, with a commercial. When we come back, there is a lot of the usual drama and then we find out that Allison and Ivan are safe, and Natalie and Musa are not. Wow, Allison is wearing a really random assortment of lace stockings and gloves. I’m almost sorry not to be getting a better look at that.
Nigel points out that of the bottom three couples, Natalie/Musa and Martha/Travis have never been in the bottom three before. He also tells us that the top three couples danced cha-cha, Broadway, and contemporary, and this is exciting for him because he thinks it means that America is becoming passionate about dance. Oh, whatever. America so does not care what the dance styles are. I guess maybe that’s his point? Did he go into this season assuming that America would just vote for the pop and hip-hop dances every single week? Come on, man, even America is not that brain-dead.
Ashlee is first to dance for her life. She pops, of course. I still really like her; she has lots of personality. She interviews that last week she brought “boogaloo-style popping, the funk, the derby,” whereas this week she popped “a little harder.” She says she deserves to stay on the show because she can change it up every week. Er, I’m not sure that being able to pop in different styles is quite the level of versatility that the judges are looking for, but what the heck – I hope they keep her. She gives a pretty impassioned speech about everything that she’s learned, and I think I smell a little bit of desperation. I must admit that her odds don’t seem good.
Dmitry mixes things up in a big way by doing his solo to “Jailhouse Rock.” I guess maybe this is jive? I’m not sure. Of course, he does a decent job, but I think he’s made a mistake by not doing what he’s really best at here. Doesn’t matter – the judges will never send him home, especially when he’s up against Travis and Musa. Dmitry interviews that he’s sad to be losing Ashlee as a partner, because he felt like they had really formed a connection. Aw – that’s cute. I did like them together.
Martha is next. She does contemporary – spins, leaps, writhing around on the floor, slow dramatic wailing music. I hate it, except that the height she gets on her leaps is really amazing. I’ve always liked Martha, but if that’s her solo material, I can definitely live without her. Of the two, I’d much rather keep Ashlee.
There’s a commercial and then Travis is up. Before he dances, I notice that Cat is wearing a ginormous ring that looks like a big dead bug on her finger. Nice. Anyway, Travis also does contemporary, and he almost falls into the Ben trap of just spinning a lot. But then he also throws in some impressive acrobatics and some other good moves, and the crowd goes absolutely insane over him. When he does his interview, he is crying a lot. He says his mom is in the audience for the first time and she’s the reason why he dances. He’s glad he got to do a solo because he doesn’t think America understands why he’s here. The judges seem happy with him. Things look bad for Musa.
Natalie does what is basically a pop routine, but with a lot of impossible-looking leaps and splits and bends, and a really powerful aura of self-confidence. She does something that I always think is a mistake, which is to take the time to make an entrance down the steps. Dmitry did this too. Y’all, you only have thirty seconds. Don’t waste six of them walking down the stairs trying to look cute. Anyway, it’s an impressive showing, and I suspect Natalie isn’t going anywhere. She’s totally out of breath in her interview. Cat asks her whether she prefers dancing solo or with Musa, and Natalie hangs Musa out to dry a little bit. She says that soloing is easier for her, and sometimes she and Musa get frustrated with each other over “not picking up choreography.” Clearly, that refers to him not picking it up and her getting frustrated, not the other way around. Natalie says they always pull it together in the end, but I get the sense that she’s trying to tell the audience and the judges that she doesn’t need Musa. I think that whatever love connection they once had has faded dramatically. She totally hams it up in closing, calling out, “Can I get an Amen?” Yup – this is what “having a personality” looks like. I like Musa, but this girl really is good on her own.
Musa dances last. He does a lot of tumbling interspersed with some energetic dancing. I thoroughly enjoy it, but I have a feeling the judges are going to say that he hasn’t really proven himself excellent at anything other than break-dancing. I’ll miss him. I think he’ll be going home; the other cut is a toss-up between Ashlee and Martha. If it were up to me, I’d keep Musa and cut Dmitry. Yes, I know – sacrilege. But Dmitry has started to bore me.
After the break, we get a performance from the Pussycat Dolls. Oh, yuck. I should have known; this is the exact genre of “talent” this show would tend to book. For some reason, the Pussycat Dolls are allowed to do a little interview segment before they perform. They talk about how great the contestants are. Then they do a song called “Buttons.” I think the “lead” parts of the song aren’t lip-synced, but all the background and choruses are. But it’s hard for me to tell, because all of it sounds like total garbage. I have no original views about these women. I have read the same things about them over and over: They can’t sing at all; they are much older than they wish to appear; and some of them really look like trannies. I can’t disagree with any of that.
The judges come back and Nigel says that they are not happy, but they are unanimous. The girls are up for elimination first. I think they’re going to cut Ashlee because they have seen her pop one too many times. This is the disadvantage of landing in the bottom three again and again. Nigel calls Natalie up and tells her that she is sensational, but the judges think she sexes it up too much in her performances. She’s playing a “French maid” character and she doesn’t need to; she’s a better dancer than that. Of course, she’s safe.
Nigel tells Martha that she has the “best elevation” of everyone there. Yes, that lines up with what we saw. He says that the judges think that she’s lost some of her magic, and they especially noticed this during the disco routine. Ooh, they’re being judged during the group dances? Makes sense, actually. Always assume you’re being judged during everything. Martha is sent back and Ashlee is called up. Nigel tells her that they all think she has a great career ahead of her, but unfortunately, she’s up against two stronger dancers, and they’re letting her go. Sniff – I will miss her. Meanwhile, Martha looks like she’s been run over by a truck. Reminds me of how Aleks looked after she got a reprieve that time. I suspect Martha won’t be around much longer.
Ashlee’s farewell clip package teaches me that she had many different colors of Debbie Gibson hats. Also, it makes me sad. This is the first time that I’ve ever been sad watching this show, except for all the times that James “Jaymz” Tuaileva did not get eliminated. And that was more rage than sorrow. Dmitry looks even sadder than I feel. It seems like this whole thing came down to Ashlee having less formal chops than the others, and I think that sucks. She was catching up really fast and she was a lot more fun to have around than most of them. Oh well. I think I need a little perspective on the importance of this show vis-à-vis my LIFE. Ashlee cries.
After the commercial, Nigel calls Travis up first. Wow, I really don’t know what Nigel is going to do. I feel like all three of these guys are in the running, considering that Dmitry just gave his worst performance ever. Anyway, Nigel tells Travis that the judges are just as proud of him as his mother is, because he was sensational tonight. Just like that, he’s safe.
Dmitry is next. Nigel tells him he has to step it up. “Just coming out and showing your abs is not enough, to be honest with you.” Ha! I agree, he’s been coasting. Nigel says that Dmitry’s pop routine was bad and his solo tonight was nothing. He sends him back into line. Then Nigel calls Musa forward and tells him that his solo was one of the best the judges have ever seen, and this was their hardest decision ever. He says they’re running out of time, which is why he’s rushing this way. I don’t get that, because my FauxVo is showing 9:58, and we all know that Nigel has no problem taking this show to 10:02 or later. I guess maybe he got yelled at for that.
Anyway, Nigel’s rushing through everything, which is a bummer. He tells Musa that he is perhaps the most talented of all the contestants when it comes to his own style of dance, but that when it comes to other dance styles, he hasn’t grown as fast as the judges needed him to. He’s out. Musa seems to take it pretty well; Natalie is sobbing, as expected. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s noticed that the judges have just cut the two people who were essentially street dancers without formal training. I don’t understand why they let them into the top twenty if they’re going to end up cutting them before the top ten on the basis that they don’t have years of training like the others. This reminds me of how Tyra usually lets one plus-size girl onto America’s Next Top Model, but that girl can never place better than sixth or seventh. Why even put on the charade?
Musa’s clip package reminds me once again of how hot he is. Man, if we’re going to keep somebody on this show as eye candy, I would rather keep Musa than Dmitry. All right, all right. They probably did cut the two weakest dancers. I will just have to accept it. Cat runs down the list of the top ten, and I am once again excited about next week. I think the front runners are Allison, Natalie, and Benji. Not sure who my own vote would go to. What do y’all think?