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So You Think You Can Dance Recap-“Top 20”


“Why, Karen Walker…I thought I smelled gin and regret.”  Man, I love me some Megan Mullally.

Cat struts out to open SYTYCD‘s first fully live show wearing a dress that appears to be a cast off from Velma Kelly’s closet.  She quickly informs us that the sharp-eyed amongst us may have noticed that Mitchell was missing from the introductions; I’d say one would have to be more clairvoyant than sharp-eyed, as I wrote in my notes “Who the crap is Mitchell?”  Turns out he’s one of the cannon fodder contemporary boys; he’s locked and loaded.  All Uncle Nigel has to do is light the fuse.

The dancers will be introducing themselves in 8 second clips, which leads to a great deal of giggling and hand-clapping.  I can take this from those who are 18, but if one is past one’s mid-twenties I think one should conduct oneself with a bit more maturity.  In any case, our first pair is Jordan (who really wants to be a Pussycat Doll, and has apparently come to the right place) and Tadd who didn’t say anything I bothered to write down.  They have African jazz with Sean Cheesman, who has been inspired by the lava of a volcano; I don’t know much about technique but I danced African for seven years…you need to be down into the floor, with knees bent and a low center of gravity.  They’re both up the whole time, and it irritates me.  However, since it’s African jazz maybe that was their instruction, so I’ll let it pass.  The judges are a love fest the whole time, though the whole routine seemed fairly mediocre to me.

Sasha is partnered with Alexander, and neither of them managed to be funny or ridiculous enough in 8 seconds to get me to write anything down.  They are dancing a contemporary routine by Travis Wall, where Sasha is portraying Alexander’s conscience or something like that.  It seems like a good excuse for a lot of pained, angst-y facial expressions, and fervent reaching for something that isn’t there.  It is indeed just that, but I’m distracted by the fact that Sasha appears to have been dressed in Pat Benatar’s outfit from her Love Is a Battlefield video.  The whole thing strikes me again as somewhat bland, though the judges again enjoy it.  Alexander gets called out for not connecting to his partner…Nigel’s loading you into the cannon right behind Mitchell, Alexander.

They took pity on teeny-tiny Jess and partnered him with similarly sized Clarice.  As I watch their 8 second intros, I’m distracted by the thought of munchkin Jess standing next to amazonian Cat.  I am now living for this moment.  They get Broadway with Tyce.  Tyce continues to wear a hoodie with the hood up for his interviews.  Still no explanation as to why he thinks this is a good idea.  The routine seems like a lot of cute posing with little story to it, and isn’t the story the whole point of the Broadway routine?  I believe the line is a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing.  The judges flip for Jess, while Clarice is told she paled next to him and the other girls in the competition.  That cannon is getting crowded! Oh, and it appears that when Cat is in heels, Jess JUST reaches her nipples.

Ryan is apparently obsessed with Law & Order:SVU.  Okay, there’s a dark underbelly revealed.  That show is some effed up crap.  She’s partnered with Ricky Jamie for lyrical hip-hop with Christopher Scott about one man’s loss of his girlfriend.  They perform fairly well for a pair of contemporary dancers in a style outside of their own, though Ryan gets called out for smiling during a routine that was ostensibly sad and offers an explanation for her grin that left me more confused than where I started.  I just figured she was smiling because she’s hoping people will think she’s related to Julia Roberts.  It’s not an amazing routine, but it’s my favorite thus far.

Caitlynn is the girl who was paired with the now-injured Mitchell, who went down during his first rehearsal with The Tayeh.  The Tayeh will END YOU!!  The inspiration for the jazz routine is about what people can accomplish without fear; I love what these people come up with for inspiration.  Remember the one a few seasons back about the alien queen impregnating an earthling?  The routine is good, but I’m distracted by the fact that The Tayeh appears to have recovered her hair mojo, and is sporting a teased, bi-colored mohawk that I assume is a follicular homage to a loofah.  The judges, shockingly, loved it.

Miranda is paired with Robert, who perhaps I’ll just call “Woo,” since he appears to have confused this sound with a personality trait.  They have a jive with Jason Gilkison, which makes them only the second couple to have a style completely outside of their comfort zone tonight.  The routine starts out strong, loses some energy in the middle, and then picks up again at the end.  It was immensely helped by the fun costumes putting them squarely into the 60’s mod scene; though if your dance routine can be said to be helped immensely by costumes, that’s probably not a good sign.  Nigel  informs Robert that people might become annoyed with the “wooing.”  Yes, that seems a distinct possibility.

Missy, she of no last name, gets to reveal it in her 8 second intro!  And it’s…Morelli!  Very exciting.  She’s paired with Wadi, and they get jazz with Sean Cheesman, who has them be weird, sexy demons that crawl out of Pandora’s Box.  Seriously, where do they get this stuff?  There is a very cute moment in their intro package where Wadi accidentally grabs Missy’s boob and lets go like his hand was burned.  Nothing could prove his heterosexuality more; any gay dancer wouldn’t have noticed.  And Missy is clearly used to gay partners, as the hand on her boob didn’t even register until Wadi moved it.  Their routine gets high marks from the judges, though to me it seemed like a lot of Missy dancing jazz, while Wadi picked her up and then did a non-jazz related flip.  But what the hell do I know?

Melanie is paired with Marko for contemporary with Travis Wall.  Why do they re-use choreographers in the same show.  Scheduling?  It’s making me nervous I’m going to be Tyce’d again.  Travis has Melanie and Marko portraying two statues that want to become one…family show, people, keep it clean.  The piece is way, way better than the first contemporary duet we saw, both in subject matter and performance.  Both Melanie and Marko are strong and confident, and their dance receives the first standing ovation from the judges of the year.  Nigel then immediately mentions that it could be nominated for an Emmy, and everything gets tacky.  Still, best piece of the night so far.

Ashley and Chris are partners, and Ashley mentions she loves hot pink Uggs.  There are no words.  Oh, yes there are.  Gross.  They have hip-hop with Christopher Scott, and I think Ashley out-dances Chris in his own style.  Chris then talks about how he’s never been asked to dance a routine like that, and this just makes me think about the chefs that go on Top Chef without memorizing a dessert recipe.  You KNOW the challenge is coming, go to a damn dance class.  Anyway, the judges soft-pedal it, but I think we’re all a little sad that Lil O isn’t here right now.

And finally, Iveta and Nick, who are officially my favorite couple.  Why?  Well, for one thing, Iveta mentions that she wanted a monkey, but they’re illegal in the US, so she didn’t get one.  Random.  Does this mean they’re legal in Lithania, where she grew up?  Meanwhile, Nick is the only contestant to not play the “I’MGOINGTOTALKASFASTASICAN!” card during his 8 seconds and says “My name is Nick Young…I have a really…fun personality” with a deadpan expression on his face the whole time.  They pull the quickstep out of the hat, which Iveta has apparently been competing in since she was six.  SIX, people.  I think when I was six I was way too busy learning to color inside the lines to compete in anything.  She then proceeds to whip Nick into shape, and they pull off the dreaded dance of death with aplomb and class.  One must remember to not mess with those raised in former Soviet satellites.  Totally my favorite of the night.

Stray observations:

-Look, producers…we know some of the boys are straight.  We know some of the boys are gay.  It’s fairly obvious which is which.  Please, please, please don’t try to cut something together to make it look like there’s heat between a pair that’s just acting for a dance.

-Nigel: “If that’s African jazz I love it!”  Are we just admitting we doesn’t know what the hell is going on now?  That fine, as long as if you don’t know what you’re looking for, say that and move on.  Don’t proceed to offer criticism on something you’re not an expert in.

-I actually thought Megan Mullally was a pretty good guest judge.  She clearly followed the lead of Mary and Nigel, and wasn’t going to rip anyone, but she was taking notes on the dances as she watched and referenced specific points in her critiques.  She was like, seven light years better than Robin or Tyce.

-Your That’s Way Harsh, Tai Moment of the Night goes to Ashley, for playing a fake violin while Chris wept over his cheating ex-girlfriend.

-I’m not going to be recapping the result shows…they’re generally a great deal of filler and leave me with little to say.  If anything comes up that bears repeating, I’ll talk about it the next Wednesday.

-Who should go home tomorrow: Chris and Jordan.

-Who will go home tomorrow: Alexander and Clarice.