”So You Think You Can Dance”: A few surprises
When I heard that Debbie Allen would be the guest judge on So You Think You Can Dance, I expected insightful commentary from the all-star choreographer, director, and producer. But instead, last night’s show taught me that the Debbie Allen school of thought says, ”Everyone’s a winner!” Seems Allen forgot that this is reality television, and most of her beloved dancers will soon become losers. They ain’t gonna live forever, Debbie! (Sadly, neither will I in this particular gig: Your regular SYTYCD TV Watcher, Adam B. Vary, will be returning to you after the July 4 holiday).
The biggest question mark of the night was Debbie’s love for Cedric. Perhaps it was Mia Michaels’ leftover love juice or Cedric’s puppy-dog face, but Debbie offered the one-note dancer a scholarship to her academy. Did she not notice that as choreographer, Mia cleverly tucked Cedric away in a corner, literally, during a part of the contemporary routine, while Shauna showed off some real skills? Thankfully, Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe noticed, so maybe they’ll finally give him the heave-ho if he winds up in the bottom three tonight.
We may also see Neil and Lauren in the bottom three for their lukewarm tango. Unlike in last week’s hip-hop routine, Lauren was the stronger of the two this time around, even taking into account Nigel’s odd compliment that Neil (and all the guys) ”dance like dudes.” Still, her sharp performance couldn’t compensate for Neil’s overly stiff posture and the pair’s lack of fire. The performance didn’t offer much, and all Cat Deeley could say was, ”Tangotastic!” The only good thing was that the music matched the dance style for once. Note to choreographers: Experimenting isn’t always good!
Fortunately, this week saw more good than bad. Jaimie and Hok’s jazz piece, choreographed by the enormously talented Wade Robson, took the cake, and may even end up being the best performance and choreography this season. Set to music from Memoirs of a Geisha, this ballet-like routine poised Jaimie as a flower and Hok as a hummingbird. Sounds like modern-dance mumbo jumbo, but boy, did it work. The duo’s precision, grace and strength left me (and the judges) breathless, putting to rest mixed reviews from last week’s samba.
I wanted to give Dominic the boot a week ago (mostly for the hairy toes comment), but his and Sabra’s beautiful rumba proved me wrong. Their partnership finally worked for me, and for once I wasn’t distracted by an unfortunate song choice (the Pussycat Dolls’ ”Stickwitu”). Kudos to Dominic and Sabra for conquering the music. It even warranted two tickets on the ”hot tamale train” from Mary Murphy.
Who can compete with Lacey and Kameron? Those two are just so darned entertaining. Their quickstep didn’t necessarily blow me away, but I can’t deny their charisma, and I doubt America can, either. By the way, did Nigel’s wedding comment have some effect on the pair? Did anyone else see Kameron give Lacey a peck at the end of their routine?
Anya and Danny’s hip-hop was similar to Sara and Jesús’ krumping in that there was a weaker link with each: Anya in the former, Jesús in the latter. I disagreed with Nigel’s comment that Danny seemed unnatural; someone should get that boy on Justin Timberlake’s tour! If anything, Anya seemed stiffer, like she was using her ballroom counts of ”1-2-3, 3-2-1” for hip-hop’s less regimented style. As for Jesús, who can blame him when his partner is a break-dancer? She even got the Nigel Lythgoe ”gangsta” seal of approval. Jesús clearly wasn’t as strong as Sara, but he put up a good fight.
And what about Jessi and Pasha, SYTYCD’s beautiful couple? Well, things sometimes take a twist, as Cat explained. It turned out Jessi had fallen ill and doctors wouldn’t allow her to dance. Pasha, instead, danced with the choreographer’s assistant and performed an electrifying cha-cha. Luckily for Pasha, it’s one of his specialties (as if his swiveling hips hadn’t given that away). Sure, the piece was great, but did it really call for a standing ovation from the choreographers in the audience, and did Pasha deserve praise for having chemistry with a Bette Midler look-alike? (Ouch. Debbie’s words, not mine.) I hear the sound of sympathy votes in the air.
If Jessi gets the go-ahead from her doctors, she’ll have to dance for her life. If she’s not able to dance, she’ll be eliminated. Is that a fair deal? Who do you think deserves Mary Murphy’s hyena scream? Does music choice affect your opinions of the dances? And who’s in your bottom three?