So You Think You Can Dance (June 27 and 28, 2007)

July 9, 2007 at 4:54 pm | Posted in So You Think You Can Dance, TV News | Leave a comment

It figures. I take a tiny little vacation, and end up missing out on So You Think You Can Dance‘s biggest drama ever. It’s a damn shame. My exceedingly late recap of last Wednesday and Thursday is below:

Wednesday:
Cat welcomes us to the show, wearing a black leather dress and sexy bedhead. Cat’s in it to win it, folks. Also in it to win it: sixteen adorable danceketeers. One comment: I don’t think the intro dances are nearly as good as last year’s group, especially the girls. They mostly just wriggle their midriffs. Step it up, ladies.

Let’s meet tonight’s judges … oh, in the name of all that is holy, who let DEBBIE ALLEN on the panel? Dammit! Folks already find Mary Murphy annoying; just WAIT till they get a load of Debbie. She had her own dance show, Fame, and it got canceled. Obviously, America has spoken. Argh, this is going to be a very long two hours.

Cat lets Debbie mouth off first, and she babbles about dance vocabulary, production values, and her false eyelashes. Don’t ask me to explain what goes on in Debbie Allen’s addled brain. Mary says Dominic is her fave right now, which is sweet. I really like him, too. Then Nigel makes a rather dirty joke involving his toupee and sex with Cat. An auspicious start to the night.

Sara and Jesus are going first, with a krump routine from Lil’C. First, we get to learn what their future ambitions are, you know, when this whole dance thing doesn’t work out. Sara’s a journalism major and wants to write about dance. Jesus wants to pay it forward, and I judge him for not using that phrase sarcastically. Lil’C says the routine will be pretty “buck,” which I’m assuming is good. (Man, I wish I had more street cred.)

As it turns out, their routine is fairly buck. I find Sara’s street ‘tude unconvincing, but they do a good job. In fact, I doubt there’s any other couple on the show that could have done as well. Debbie loves them and tries to act like a krumping expert. Right, like I’m actually going to believe that Debbie Allen and Lil’C shake it on the weekends. Mary loved it. Nigel calls the choreography a step forward for krumping, and calls Sara a “gangsta,” which just proves that he’s never met a gangsta before.

Next, Shauna and Cedric are doing contemporary with Mia Michaels. This should be interesting; Mia’s a big Cedric fan, but how’s she going to feel about Cedric’s “unique style” screwing up her routine? Or will she choreograph to his strengths (which is basically cheating)? Shauna wants to be a techno singer when she grows up, by the way, and Cedric wants to be a toy designer. And I want a million dollars! I also want Mia to get a new haircut. Rehearsals look tough; Mia’s routines are always like boot camp. Mia’s actually pretty negative about Cedric in the footage. But what’s the end result? Folks, it’s not good. Shauna’s great, but Cedric just doesn’t know what to do with his arms and hands. Mia actually has him sit down in the middle of the routine while Shauna dances around him. It’s weak. Mia looks pretty upset in the audience, understandably. Debbie praises Shauna to the heavens, and tells Cedric that she loves him … Debbie, where’s your integrity? Mary keeps it real: she likes Shauna, but doesn’t want Cedric around. Cedric responds by saying that the dance represented his struggles in life, thanks all the judges and choreographers for giving him a chance, and promises to keep learning after he leaves the show. It’s a wonderful speech. Nigel says Cedric is indeed an inspiration, but wants him off. The crowd boos Cedric, and he sticks up for Nigel, saying that he’s an example for all the dancers out there to get their butts to class. Debbie then offers Cedric a scholarship to the Debbie Allen Dance Academy, which is sweet, but also free advertising. Debbie Allen just brings it out the cynical side of me.

Anyway, that was awkward. Let’s watch Lacey and Kameron next. Lacey says a friend just died, and while she used to want to be an actress, none of that matters to her anymore. That’s good news, because the path to becoming an actress is almost never through reality TV (shut up, Jacinda Barrett). Kameron’s ambition is to be a family man. He annoys me, but okay, that’s pretty cute. UH OH. These two are dancing the quickstep with Tony Meredith. Quickstep’s the kiss of death! Good thing Lacey’s a ballroom dancer; she’s gonna need every bit of that training. In rehearsal, Kameron’s having trouble with his frame, and is made to wear some sort of back brace. Ha! But at performance time , they deliver So You Think You Can Dance‘s first good quickstep. Seriously, they did a wonderful job. And despite their emo hair, they clean up quite well. Debbie loves them, Mary loves them — Nigel gets a little technical with the critique, but likes it, too.

You know what? I don’t think these guys can win. They’re too good and too poised at this point in the competition. They’re the Evil Empire. It’s a shame, but I just don’t think they’ll get the votes they need in the long run.

Anya and Danny are doing a Dan Karaty hip hop routine. Anya wants to open an animal shelter, Danny wants to “be creative,” FYI. I wonder how the ballroom princess and ballet virtuoso will handle Dan’s stuff. Danny picks it up more quickly than Anya, who’s befuddled by the “boom boom ktcha” choreographing method. Don’t fear, friends — they nail this in performance. The routine’s really cool, to that Timbaland song that samples Nina Simone, and Dan’s got a lot of little cool moments in there — Danny plays the piano, Anya works the butt action, Danny does a neat little flip onto his back — it’s consistently interesting. Perhaps my favorite Dan routine ever. Danny’s such a pro; his moves are slightly too clean, but he’s still music video-ready. Anya’s too loose, but works the attitude. Debbie Allen calls them the dream team. Mary liked it, Nigel did too, but calls them out for being a little uncomfortable with hip hop. They take the criticism graciously, and we’re done with the Dream Team.

Up next: Sabra and Dominic. Ambitions? Dominic wants to do headspins naked, and Sabra wants to be a standup comedian, so she can meet Ellen DeGeneres. Oh, you wacky kids. They’re doing the rumba with Jean-Marc Genereaux, which is a So You Think You Can Dance first. I don’t even know what the rumba is, but it looks like a slow latin dance with more poses and hip swivels. Oddly, they’re dancing to the Pussycat Dolls. It’s certainly entertaining and enjoyable, and they have beautiful lines. Debbie loves them, Mary the expert gushes, tears up, and screams up a storm, and Nigel’s proud of his little dancers that could.

As Cat puts it, “only three more couples and it’s make-your-mind-up time.” Lauren and Neil are up. Neil wants to be an actor and singer, duh. Lauren wants to work for NASA. To accomplish this goal, I would recommend college. Not reality shows. But whatever, dream big, kids. They’re doing the tango with Jean-Marc Genereaux. Jean-Marc will not tolerate any bitching from Lauren, who has the flu. Neil and Lauren playfully fight with each other through rehearsals, and it’s very cute. Neil continually refers to himself as the “fat cat,” which must be a Genereauxism. At performance time, the kids start out dancing in chairs, and when they finally get up, there’s an awful lot of posing and not a whole lot of partner dancing. Weirdest tango ever. I mostly blame the choreography, but I also expected a little more from their dancing. Debbie Allen says they connected well, but there were moments of awkwardness. Mary liked the beginning, but found the rest sloppy. Nigel gives it an unenthusiastic “good.” He thought Neil was overdancing, but compliments him for dancing like a dude.

Hok and Jaimie time. I haven’t loved anything they’ve done yet. Hok’s an artist, and fairly talented. Jaimie has “so much ambition,” and wants to write a book about her mom. Eh, you can’t make fun of that. They’re doing jazz with The Famous Wade Robson. He quickly clarifies that he isn’t teaching them a jazz routine at all. Way to fuck up your assignment, Wade. Instead, it’s a weird ballet, in which Hok’s a hummingbird and Jaimie’s a flower. Oooh, and it’s set to music from Memoirs of a Geisha. The performance is amazing — Hok’s got all these minute fast-paced bird-like movements, and Jaimie gets to show off her amazing control. She starts off slowly rising out of a plie, and the technique is incredible. They both really show off their skills. Cat’s basically left speechless. Debbie calls Wade a genius, and as much as I love to hate on Wade, it was really one of the best routines that’s been on the show. Mary says Hok “soared like an eagle,” yuck. Nigel fakes like he couldn’t appreciate the beauty of the routine at first, which is a total lie. He’s speaking for the “middle America” audience, who he assumes can’t appreciate dancing of this caliber. It’s borderline insulting, but Nigel has always tried to make this show educational, so what can you do.

Now, for the drama: Pasha and Jessi are learning the cha-cha with Tony Meredith. Rehearsals look like they’re going well — Pasha’s trained in this style, and Jessi’s picking it up quickly. But instead of introducing the two for their routine, Cat shows us footage of Jessi inside an ambulance. Apparently she had trouble breathing. Pasha seems very concerned, sweetly. Jessi’s been ordered to rest, but Cat tells us that Pasha’s going to dance anyway, with Tony Meredith’s assistant, Melanie. And … HA HA HA HA HA! Melanie is extremely talented. She’s also put on some weight since her champion days, is over forty, and has festively dyed red hair. Pasha’s doing his best, but because the choreography’s so sexy, the whole thing just looks hilarious. It also looks like they replaced one of the lifts because of well, the size disparity. Sucks that they couldn’t get Heidi Groskreutz to do it. Pasha gets a standing ovation for being hot, awesome, and a good sport. Debbie says that Melanie looked like Bette Midler out there, and that Pasha deserves an Oscar for trying to flirt with her. Ouch! Mary’s in love with Pasha, and Nigel explains what’s going on with Jessi. She had an abnormal EKG, and if she’s available, she’ll automatically be dancing for her life tomorrow, otherwise she’ll be cut. The votes cast tonight will just be for Pasha.

That’s it for Wednesday …

Thursday:
Tonight’s group dance number is set to music from The Lion King on Broadway, and everyone’s decked out in their finest African tribal garb. There’s also a lot of playing around with a big red scarf. The guys carry Sabra in to meet up with Danny. Presumably he’s The Lion King. Neil gets to show off his skillz with some energetic jumps before a big finish. Wow. Now I really want to see The Lion King. It was awesome, and choreographed by the beloved Tyce Diorio.

Cat looks fab tonight in a green dress and blown out hair, introduces the judging panel, then gets right down to business, bringing out Lauren, Neil, Kameron and Lacey. We’re reminded that Lauren and Neil were good, and Kameron and Lacey were awesome. Lacey and Kameron are safe, Lauren and Neil are not. Cat lets Mary weigh in, as usual. Also as usual, Mary is very upset about this turn of events. Next to hear the news: Jaimie and Hok, Jesus and Sara, and Sabra and Dominic. Hok and Jaimie are safe, delivered by the grace of Wade Robson. Poor Sara and Jesus are in the bottom three, and Dominic and Sabra are safe. Jesus and Sara are gracious about their fate, and Debbie gives them a little pep talk. Debbie’s wearing a bustier, by the way. Inappropriate!

Since Jessi is out of the hospital, Jessi and Pasha do the cha-cha we should’ve seen yesterday. Damn, it’s really good. Jessi’s not my fave, but she really’s really great. Sometimes the arms were a little sloppy, but she had the footwork down. Jessi explains that she was dehydrated, but is all better now, and calls Pasha her Prince Charming. Jessi will be in danger tonight, but will Pasha? Of course not.

Last to get their news: Shauna and Cedric vs. Anya and Danny. This should be a no-brainer … but it’s Anya and Danny that are in the bottom three! Eek! Cedric’s heartwarming speech really worked! Danny gets this hilarious WTF look on his face, but recovers in time to give Cedric a hug. Nigel assures Anya and Danny that they are fabulous, and Danny looks like he’s fighting back tears.

Solo time: Lauren’s first … and since it’s a “what the hell is going on here?” kinda night, she’s dancing to KEVIN FEDERLINE’S “POPOZAO.” Lauren, seriously? Did he promise you a cut of the divorce settlement or something? It kills me to admit that the song has a fairly cool intro beat. Lauren wastes a lot of her time with her entrance and stripping off her jacket. I love watching her, but it was only okay.

Neil’s next, and raises the bar. He’s such an exciting dancer to watch. It’s mostly a series of tricks and jumps, but better that then just striking a pose.

Sara decides to breakdance for her solo. It’s cute, but not good or anything. Sara needs like eighty times her actual upper arm strength to be a good breakdancer.
Jesus is next to dance, and he’s picked “What I Like About You.” Weird choice. He also pulled his socks up to his knees. Getting past all that, he’s got the most fully-formed routine of any of the guys.

Next, Jessi, and oh Jessi. She’s wearing a super ugly jacket, pajama pants, and a baseball cap. Apparently she’s trying to demonstrate her hip-hop cred. Now is not the time to abandon your sex appeal, Jess. Dance often looks worse in baggy clothes, because you can’t see the lines of the body. This is leotards were invented. I get what she was trying to do, but it would’ve worked better in a tank top.

Danny is the last of the guys, and he’s taking no chances. This boy commands the stage, literally crawling across it at one point.

Anya finishes it out, dancing to Eva Cassidy’s cover of “Fields of Gold.” This song is absolutely beautiful, and reminds me of when Michelle Kwan skated to it in the 2002 Olympics exhibition, after losing her chance at the gold. I’m getting choked up just thinking about it. If you ever need a good cry, watch it. Seriously, it’s so touching, even the stupid NBC commentators were speechless. MICHELLE KWAN 4EVER. Anyway, Anya’s routine is fine, but she’s wearing a black mesh bodysuit with blue fuzz all over it, and black gloves to match. It is … so hideous.

The judges trot off back stage to decide who stays, and Fergie and Ludacris perform “Glamorous.” I’m impressed with Fergie’s ability to walk in five inch heels, but I still cant forgive her for dating Josh Duhamel. IT’S NOT FAIR.

Ahem. It’s time to kick a girl off the show. I think Sara or Jessi will get the boot here. But first, Nigel tells them all that they need to step it up. It’s true, solos this year have been way boring. He calls Lauren out for wasting time, which she deserves. I bet Nigel’s as pissed as I am about the Kevin Federline thing. Then he rips the band-aid off, and tells Jessi she’s out. The crowd is shocked, Jessi looks pissed, and can’t even make gracious small talk with Cat.

I think cutting Jessi was the right call, though. If she’s got health problems as indeterminate as dehydration, then having her on the show is a risk. Plus, the solo was lame. I wonder if Nigel wanted to keep Jessi on the show, actually — she might garner extra sympathy, but health problems are a serious issue for this production.

Now it’s time for the guys … oh no. It just sunk in that either Neil, Jesus, or Danny is going home. Dangit! They’re all wonderful! Nigel chides America once again for fucking up the vote, but says they reached a unanimous decision and boots … Jesus. What?! For a second, I thought Neil was getting cut instead. Hmm, I think Jesus was screwed by the dances he’s had to do so far. If he’d had a Mia Michaels routine, I think the judges would be more behind him. Jesus gets choked up, thinking about how he’s helping kids in the ghetto to achieve their dancing dreams. Aw, this blows. Cedric is a nice boy, but he should be gone. Sigh. Oh well, there’s always next week!

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