So You Think You Can Dance: Results Show, 7/7/11

E: Le Sigh.  Zees Show, sometimes, it makes me sad.  It is not zee zurprize, but steell, I am zo zorry.

Yeah, okay.  I don’t really know what that’s about.  Anyway. Most of this show was actually pretty fun, if you can ignore the unpleasant elimination part. Bollywood, ballet and Florence and the Machine?  Bring it on!

We open with fantastic, bloody fantastic Bollywood group routine, choreographed as ever by Nakul.  The music is “Kata Kata” from Raavan, and all in all, it’s everything you want from Bollywood; intricate steps, joyful rhythms, fast footwork, jewel toned costumes.  Everybody’s gorgeous, everybody’s fine.  Somehow, Jess keeps drawing my eye, which really surprises me.  Either way – wow.

Cat’s dressed a bit like a disco ball with a glittery gun metal dress, big glittery belt, and little booties. She introduces the judges – playfully calling Nigel the Dark Knight, which doesn’t really bear thinking on. Carmen Electra is missing (oh, the sorrow) but Travis is there, looking quite dapper in a black velvet jacket and another slightly oversized bowtie.  Love the white shirt; it’s all very  traditional tux with a twist.  Travis thinks he talked way too fast, but was pleased with how he came across overall.  He felt like he looked competent.  I’m sure being seated next to Carmen Electra helped with that…

Cat gets right to business, calling up Caitlynn and Mitchell and Melanie and Marko.  Hmm, interesting.  Melanie is beaming, but Marko looks petrified.  Is one of these pairs really in the bottom three?  Could the curse of the opening slot really have struck against Melanie and Marko?  No, of course not.  They’re safe.  And so are Caitlynn and Mitchell.  Melanie and Mitchell have an extended conversation during which Melanie’s got her legs wrapped around his waist, causing Cat to give them an odd look.

Next up, three couples: Jordan and Tadd, Jess and Clarice, and Ashley and Chris.  This goes just like I expected: Jess and Clarice are safe, and the others are in the bottom three.  Nigel goes so far as to tell Ashley and Chris that the judges were too soft on them last night.  Damn.  That was unnecessarily mean, I think. Mary’s surprised to see Jordan and Tadd, but I’m not.  The routines are pretty much all good, so we’re just talking weakness here, and ballroom doesn’t always get the big votes.  And that just wasn’t the strongest of numbers.  Sorry, Toni Redpath.

Last up, Ryan and Ricky and Sasha and Alexander.  Ryan’s wearing an olive colored sheer shift over typical dance hot pants and bikini top, and her hair is tamed into gorgeous waves, very 40s Lauren Bacall or 70s Miss Piggy.  And I mean that in a good way.  A very good way.  She looks like Rebecca Romjin.  I’m astounded; she’s never struck me as glamorous before.  Now, this is an interesting pairing.  Immediately, I sense a rat. It should very obviously be Sasha and Alexander, but they’ve never been in the bottom.  This feels like an obvious set up.

And it is. There’s a moment of stunned silence as Cat, astounded, tells Ricky and Ryan they’re once again in the bottom three.  Honestly, there’s no reaction at all, not even gasps of shock.  I don’t think people even believed it right away.  Alexander, seriously, is one lucky neatnik.  (I wanted to call him a slob, but he’s much too clearly not.) Sasha’s popularity has pulled him through once more.  That boy is so gone the second he hits the bottom three, don’t you think?

Ryan’s eyes filled with tears. What more can she DO?  She had a better routine, she danced it perfectly, the judges love her… I really feel for her.  It seems obvious that the audience in general doesn’t respond to her in the same way.  I don’t know why exactly I feel like this is more about her than Ricky – maybe because I’ve seen people talking about it online to the point where ballroom champ/online commentator Melanie LePatin felt she had to specifically account for the judges affection.  Maybe all the early attention from the producers is dragging her down; no one likes to have contestants stuffed down their throats.  But how hard must it be to know that you’ve done your best, you’ve done it well, and it none of it matters, nothing you can do matters, because strangers have decided they don’t like you?  Oh my God, I want to cry just thinking about it.

On the other hand, there’s no knowing what the vote count was, and someone had to be in the bottom three.  It doesn’t have to mean people hate them.  Still.  It’s hard.

Anyway.  Cat notes that Travis has a quizzical look on his face.  Is he confused, bemused?  I love you for using those big words, Cat.  He is confused.  Ricky and Ryan were wonderful, and America got it wrong. But, he tells them, I have been in that place, and you need to take the despair and frustration you’re feeling and channel it into your solos.  You need to take that emotion and use it to dance for your lives.  You can see him gathering them in with his words, helping them focus.  Good for you, Travis.

Before the solos – which is really unusual, right? – we get to see the Cedarville Contemporary Ballet (which, to my great amusement, hails from New York City).  I’ve yet to see it, but I guess they were featured in The Adjustment Bureau.  Yet another thing to look forward to in that movie!  Anyway, they’ve sent 5 dancers, two men and three women, and they’ve got an edgy, multi-ethnic look.  There’s a guy with a mohawk, and a woman with spiky hair, and my God, but they’re wonderfully muscular.  I mean, I can’t even imagine how little fat there must be on their bodies.  They’re dressed in black and white, with two of the women in irreverent little tutus and the men in white shirts with little black briefs.  They’re just so fierce and powerful.  There’s a grid of light on the floor, and they dance to “Ends” by Mikael Karlsson, and I’m super happy to have seen them.

So, the solos.  First up is Ashley, who is so light and marvelous.  She’s dancing to “Lovely” by John West featuring Pushhat, and she’s just a joy.  She’s got on a high necked black top which bares a strip of abdomen over a floaty little net skirt, and she’s stunning.  I can’t help seeing her ballet training before almost anything else, which I’m sure was a disadvantage in the salsa, where you want to be more down and dirty.  Next of course is Chris, dancing to “Scars” by Basement Janxx featuring too many artists to name (especially since I doubt we heard any of them).   He is so cool.  There’s so much joy in his movement, and they’re some hard, fun movements.  Lots of popping and locking, but some amazing gymnastic leaps, too.  He’s all over the stage, and I love it.

Then there’s Jordan, who spends pretty nearly the whole song (“Commander” by Kelly Rowland with David Guetta) with one leg up over her head – or, alternately, doing really slow bends of her back.  I’m unimpressed.  Not so the audience; we get a shot of Marko cheering his head off and shaking one hand as if he’d burned it just by being near Jordan’s hotness.  She’s followed by Tadd, dancing to Gloria Estefan’s “1 2 3 Remix,” starting off stage and running into the room on his knees like Donald O’Connor in “Make ‘Em Laugh.”  He’s great fun.  I actually think Chris did a lot more stuff – the second half of Tadd’s routine consists solely of him standing on one hand and shifting his legs into different positions.  His stamina is outrageously impressive, but it’s not exactly innovative.  Still, you have to love him for the entertainment value.

Finally, Ryan takes the stage, her arms wrapped around her torso, putting all her anguish into “Adagio for Strings”  from Platoon – so beautiful and so perfect for expressing one’s despair.  I actually had to watch this a second time to decide how I felt about it, which was pretty positive.  We haven’t had a lot of solos that felt so choreographed to actually express an emotion through the dance.  Other than, you know, Jordan trying to make us uncomfortable.  And last of all, we have Ricky, who’s chosen Mario Spinetti’s “When You Say My Name” which starts off cool and then gets weirdly repetitive.  He’s trying to be anguished, like Ryan, and what he’s doing is amazing (the height of his leaps! the big spins!  the extensions!)  and overall bananas, but doesn’t pull together as a perfect piece to me.

So if they were eliminated on the basis of this?  Jordan, no question.  And – gosh, would I really say Tadd?  Because I love Tadd.  But I might have to say that.  The solos aren’t going to save anyone tonight, though.  Cat dismisses the judges for their non-deliberation period, but I’m utterly convinced that this is meaningless.  Perhaps they’ll get to talk about where to eat dinner?  I think the only thing that could have saved Ashley and Chris was to avoid the bottom three all together.

Florence and the Machine begin ‘Cosmic Love” so quietly and stand so still that my son asks me why, if this is So You Think You Can Dance, there’s no dancing in her performance.  While we know she can dance, I love this very slow, dramatic derth of movement.  She kicks butt, especially when she very very slowly raises her arms or moves to the side; you can’t look away.  She’s mesmerizing.  On the other hand, when she sings live, her vibrato sometimes blocks my enjoyment of the song.  It’s like an effect – she can’t get a single note out without stuttering through it.  This is odd.  Anyway, she’s got a full length gown on with a plunging neckline, and a harpist, and she’s magical, and I love it, even if the vibrato is overdone for me.

The judges are still talking out in the hallway, although I wonder if they’re talking about their clothes, because I really feel like this decision is an easy one for them, relatively.  Nigel points to Travis, perhaps to emphasize something.

The girls are first up to hear their doom.  We don’t get any indication whether the judges were unanimous, but I think we can guess. Nigel tells them they’re stunningly beautiful, and then sort of backtracks by saying that he always picks beautiful girls for the show.  He even feels the need to mention that they had Carmen Electra on last night and that Kim Kardashian is in the audience now.  Oh, awesomeness.  Why don’t you have her on next week, Nigel?  She was on Dancing with the Mildly Recognizable – er, I mean, Dancing With the Stars.  And she’s sitting with Robin Antin!  She must be qualified to judge a dance show!  (Sorry, but damn it, where’s Debbie Allen when you need her?)  Oh, and he insults Cat by throwing her in as an after thought, and Mary for not mentioning her at all.  Ha.  Nigel finally comes to the point, and tells all the dancers in jeopardy that they need to start showing the judges different things when they solo; he points out that we’ve seen too much of Jordan’s develope (that bit where she sticks her leg up in the air) and now we need a new trick, thank you very much.  He loved Ryan’s solo.  So Ashley, sweet Ashley, Nigel is lowering the boom.  We love you, but we’re going to have to lose you.

Ashley immediately begins to cry.  Sasha covers her mouth hard with her hand – everything that girl does is done with extraordinary passion – and she turns away to hide her tears.  In her goodbye package, Ashley tells us she wants to be remembered as the girl who smiled a lot.   No question of that, Cat tells her, an arm wrapped around her shoulders.  Jordan and Caitlynn have their hands over their mouths, too. They’re all crying.

Cat scoots Ashley off so she can bring out the boys.  Nigel tells Ricky that he and Travis believe that Ricky and Marko are the best male contemporary dancers on the show.  And really, does that make that much sense considering that they introduced us to Marko as a jazz dancer?  Gah.  I don’t entirely get that distinction, anyway.  Nigel tells Chris that his solos are incomparable, but he hasn’t been able to pull off other styles credibly enough.   I think that’s generally unfair, but not unexpected.  Now, maybe there was actually a discussion about who to send home after all, because Nigel makes it clear that Travis is supposed to work with Jordan and Tadd this week and has been begging to do so, so Chris will be the one getting the boot.

Well.  Way to put the responsibility in Travis’ lap, Nigel.

As we say goodbye, Chris – who just wants to inspire other kids to work hard – is crying with his arms wrapped around himself.  Aw, man.  I totally want to hug him.

I’m really curious to know what would have happened had Sasha and Alexander landed in the bottom.  Would they have taken the chance to give Sasha a different partner,or are they just too disappointed by Chris’s inability to come up to speed?  I don’t think that’s fair, by the way; I know they haven’t been enjoying the non-Nappy Tabs hip hop routines, but I thought he did jazz quite well, and his Broadway was awesome.  Just because they didn’t like the choreography of the hip hop and the jazz.. Anyway.  It was clear this is what was going to happen, and it did.  It doesn’t mean I have to like it.  I’m really sorry not to see more of them.

It’s interesting to speculate, actually, on what’s going to happen next week when we go from 12 to the official top ten.  So far all the dancers have been eliminated in pairs, but next week, that could change.  This will be their last week in their current couplings (Melanie and Marko, sob!) so there’s going to be no motivation for the judges to keep dancers together.

So, what did you think?  Was this what you expected, too?  Do you think it was the right call?

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