James Dimmock/FOX
Adam B. Vary
June 30, 2011 AT 10:43 AM EDT

When Cat Deeley announced at the outset of last night’s episode of So You Think You Can Dance that we would be treated to “16 dynamic dancers, 10 rip-roaring routines, [and] four enthralling experts,” I was dubious. Yes, at first her math seemed off, but mostly I doubted that all the dancers would be dynamic, all the routines rip-roaring, and all the experts enthralling. Technically, my skepticism was warranted; there were a few dancers who were less than dynamic, a couple of routines that neither ripped nor roared. But the spirit of our host’s prognostications was spot-on. From the contestants to the judges, the inventive and moving choreography to Cat Deeley’s clandestine screen test for Baz Luhrmann’s impending production of The Great Gatsby, last night was hands down one of the most satisfying and entertaining episodes of SYTYCD in recent memory.

That started with our two guest judges: Kristin Chenoweth, recipient of both a Tony and an Emmy award, whose impending country-music album means just one thing — somebody’s gunning for an EGOT; and Lil C, he of the profusely prodigious promulgations within the prism of our persevering perplexity. It seems pretty obvious that they had both been invited to the judges’ table to help fill out the two-hour running time, but I’d like to think that Nigel and Co. had an inkling that the show was going to pack in so much great dancing that it deserved four judges to praise it all.

I mean, the opening group number — featuring eight of the top 16, all split from their usual partners — was a killer Broadway ditty about the war between the sexes, and it was choreographed by Tyce Diorio. Yeah! I know! It was kinda great! It had structure and style and story and everything! (Don’t worry; the old Tyce we’ve grown to know and grudgingly tolerate didn’t go too far.) Despite the choppy camera placement and editing, it was hard not to notice that Marko and Sasha, two of the season’s early favorites, were front and center, while the possibly less-than-superlative Miranda and Tadd were stuck in the back. Remember this, because it’s a theme that popped up again at the end of the show.

NEXT: Sasha haunts a piano, and the judges curiously go easy on Miranda and Robert

( 1 of 5 )

You May Like