Adam B. Vary
June 26, 2008 AT 07:09 PM EDT

So You Think You Can Dance

TV Show
Reality TV
run date
Nigel Lythgoe, Cat Deeley, Mary Murphy
Current Status
In Season

We learned about the ”hidden” talents/quirks/tattoos of the dancers during last night’s So You Think You Can Dance, but, oh, did we learn so much more than that. We learned that some 40 years ago Nigel once lifted the late dancing legend Cyd Charisse. We learned that guest judge Adam Shankman can exceed Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy both in insight and in borderline obnoxiousness. We learned that no one, ever, will be able to make the quickstep anything more than the SYTYCD equivalent of brussels sprouts. We learned that such words as valta, baltafongo, and batchacow evidently exist beyond Mary’s imagination (although my spelling of those words is a guess at best). We learned that choreographers Napoleon and Tabitha (a.k.a. NapTab) are the best thing to happen to this show since Mia Michaels introduced Travis and Heidi to the park bench. We learned that the SYTYCD wardrobe department is lacking in either fabric funds or dress patterns. (Most likely both.) We learned that Nigel can unambiguously appreciate another man’s bum. And we learned that Mary has definitely decided to join Cat Deeley’s efforts to make 1980s music-video attire ”happen” again.

Mary, Cat, I’m sorry, but even in the 1980s, the only person who could make kitschy rhinestone explosions and micro-mini white lace wedding dresses ”happen” was Cher. Both of you are many things — great things, kooky things, entertaining things, certainly. But as even Mr. Shankman — who likened Mary to a ”really pretty disco ball” and called Cat’s outfit ”categorically, cataclysmically cat-tastic” (as opposed to the outfit he deemed merely ”catastrophically cat-tastic” last season) — would have to admit, neither of ya is Cher.

But I digress. Most important, we learned for certain which couples are still flying under the radar, rising to the challenge, straining to match their hype, and stumbling after auspicious debuts. I’d pegged Thayne and Chelsea as early favorites two weeks ago, but goodness, how these two have drawn the short end of the stick since. Last week they were saddled with neck ruffles and disjointed choreography, and this week they pull the quickstep? My only guess is that the universe is just righting itself after the supernova of sexiness that was their top 20 cha-cha, with a dollop of karmic payback for all the floral arrangements Chelsea’s allegedly been purloining from hotel lobbies.

Fortunately, so long as their (inevitable) solos stand up to scrutiny tonight, Chelsea and Thayne should be safe another week, thanks to the squishy bowl of wet noodles that’s become of Comfort and Chris. Granted, neither last week’s krumping routine nor this week’s African jazz routine was exactly the most ideal dancing showcase. (Nigel may not be able to say so, Lil C and Tyce Diorio, but we all know you guys can do so much better.) By now, though, it’s safe to say that if any of the other couples had been handed these routines, they’d at least have been able to make them interesting, but my eyes keep glazing over whenever these two take the stage. Perhaps Chris’ plain-yogurt personality is sucking away all of Comfort’s spunk, or maybe he’s spending too much time shoring up her lack of training to concentrate on his own steps. Regardless, neither of them exactly helped matters when they shared that Comfort was once a standard-issue pageant queen (there goes her street cred) and Chris, um, eats other people’s food right off their fork. (That moment with Thayne did look a bit staged to me, but, even so, why would anyone agree to stage eating food off of someone else’s fork?)

NEXT: The Twitchington paradox

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