So You Think You Can Dance Recap: Grieving Las Vegas

I would never call So You Think You Can Dance executive producer/head judge Nigel Lythgoe an old dog, but I nevertheless applaud him for cooking up some new and totally unexpected tricks during Night 1 of the Season 12 callbacks.

A perky pair of hoofers take a detour to a chapel (complete with Elvis impersonator officiate) and tie the knot before hitting the stage. A handsome ballroom hopeful injures his foot, then enters commercial break weeping in a wheelchair on an abandoned loading dock. A geeky kid whose family has never attended one of his performances is asked to dance for his life following an iffy choreography round. And each and every one of ’em… gets dropped like a flimsy t-shirt in Magic Mike XXL!?!? (Fret not: We’ll discuss Twitch’s PG-in-reality/NC-17-in-facial-expression striptease momentarily.)

Yes indeed, let us mark this as the very moment that SYTYCD‘s threadbare feel-good tropes turned into brutal liabilities.

kellie-maccoy-sytycdSure, new judge Jason Derulo continues to exhibit the charisma of a boiled rutabaga, but he, Nigel and Paula Abdul aren’t letting a good backstory cloud their view of what’s happening on the stage in front of ’em. Kill it on the dance floor or be killed in the competition, seems to be their mantra. And I’m not mad at ’em for that.

With that said, let’s review the four most memorable moments from the two-hour telecast:

4. Blink and You Missed a Great Solo | The show didn’t spend much time on ballet dancer Dorian Flores’ solo, but his feathery leaps juxtaposed with his muscular power have me hoping for a Chehon-esque trajectory.

3. “I Married a Fellow Contestant and All I Got Was Six Minutes of Screen Time?!” | I expected Nigel & Co. to reward overrated contemporary chick Kelly MacCoy and wildly outclassed Tyrell Noll — who met on line for Season 11 auditions — for getting hitched on camera. But the latter’s initial solo was so logey, they didn’t even send him to choreo, while the former’s Broadway routine was so out-of-sync with her fellow competitors that her dream went the way of the Hot Tamale Train, too.

2. Now With 75 Percent More Twitch! | Oh how I wish Nigel had replaced himself with Travis Wall and given Jason Derulo’s seat to Twitch. I mean, I’m sure Travis and Twitch will be great mentors to Teams Stage and Street respectively, but the latter alumni’s extended screentime this week was a true joy. Watch his animated facial expressions during particularly ferocious hip-hop routines! Turn to mush as he comforts/encourages a rightfully spiraling chick with not enough training to survive ’til the Green Mile! Hold your breath as he unbuttons his shirt during a countdown of the Top 5 reasons to see his new male-stripper movie (opening July 1)!

SYTYCD_Day_1-Dancers_0225_hires11. Girl Power! | Standing Ovarion, Megz, Jessica Rabone, Jaja Vankova and especially Urellis — to name a few — proved so ferocious, so funky, and so completely mesmerizing, I didn’t take it as kidding at all when Twitch wondered if his team would be made up entirely of women.

What did you think of Night 1 of SYTYCD callbacks? Who were your faves? Were there any miscarriages of justice? Sound off below!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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52 Comments
  1. CMB says:

    Although no one is a true standout to me yet, the girl street dancers really stepped up to the challenge. I was afraid I wouldn’t like seeing the two groups perform separately, but it hasn’t been as bad as I had anticipated. I still expect stage to kill the street dancers when the actual competition starts.

    • PIMB says:

      I am a huge Jaja fan and look forward to seeing her in the final 10. Most of the people that had me scratching my head were eliminated quickly such as married guy Tyrell (and girl quickly followed)

  2. Cassie says:

    I thought Moises was fine in Broadway – he was having fun, he was doing the choreography. And then they tell him that he has to dance more masculine? A little surprised to hear that from Paula (would have expected it from Nigel). I don’t really remember him from the other episodes, but based on his Broadway performance, I thought he was fine.

  3. Alan Dvorkis says:

    Did the Hebrew b boy get cut?

  4. Lana says:

    The street girls were kicking butt and that was fun. I hope they continue to do so as it shows the guys are truly lacking in being able to actually learn steps, even though its stuff they do every day. Love my stage but I’m not as impressed with the Moises guy as some are as I felt there were so much better. In fact I love the guy who is half of the Latin dancers, she is good too.

    • Mona Cattanach says:

      I agree that he male half of the Latin dance team was very good, I wonder if he has had training in other styles? The female was also good, but his personality seemed to shine a bit more than hers.

      • Alan says:

        His name is Denys. He was on SYTYCD Canada and won the whole. I guess they have already set a precedent with Paul a couple of years ago but it does seem a bit unfair.

  5. Lana says:

    Also I can’t wait to see Magic Mike XXL!! I couldn’t wait normally but when I found out Twitch was in it too I really was happy. Channing was on Fallon’s and said Twitch was awesome!!

  6. Another spot on re-cap! I enjoyed this episode more than this seasons earlier ones. Michael hit the nail on the head. I too wished during the episode that Nigel be ousted and Twitch and Travis become a permanent part of the judging panel. Twitch has true charisma and seems very genuine and in the moment. I hope creepy Nigel doesn’t systematically eliminate all the girls over 20 years old again like he did a couple of years ago. I feel genuinely bad for the eliminated contestants who want to try out again next year, because Exexutive Producer Nigel has sunk the ratings to record lows. Hopefully Fox will continue the show next year without Nigel.

    • mooshki says:

      More like the move to Mondays has sunk the show.

      • tjj50 says:

        Yeah, definitely the move to Mondays has not helped. That and it seems so many regulars were not happy with a. the format change, and b. Mary’s ouster, they haven’t come back.

    • MC says:

      I’m glad that Travis and Twitch are mentors because they can directly impact the dancers via practical hands-on coaching. Viewers become all obsessed with the judges on these reality shows, but the coaches and mentors are the ones who will truly impact the performers in a meaningful way. It’s nice to hear knowledgeable comments from the judges, but even the experts sometimes overpraise average routines or undervalue perfectly good ones.

  7. PIMB says:

    When did crografy become a word? Why were Cat’s pants so tight? Do we really need to hear the sob stories again? Will Jason and Paula ever have a conversation in sentences we can understand? Tune in next week.

    • Trinity says:

      I would be over joyed if we didn’t have to see the sob stories over and over again.. and that silly wedding bit.. Oy Vey!! I would rather see more of them learning Crografy. Paula actually have good feedback and was pretty tough. You could tell that the boys in Street were pretty bad.

  8. PIMB says:

    The Broadway was sooo bad it was hard to tell who was decent. They were all out of sync with each other. Nigel has a history of calling people out for not being manly enough. I think a better choice for Moises might have been “mature”. Eh Nigel is a creep and Pual and jason are boobs. I Want MARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Raevin68 says:

    My favorite line from your recap ” new judge Jason Derulo continues to exhibit the charisma of a boiled rutabaga” He is awful!

    • PIMB says:

      Why is he insulting a boiled rutabaga.

    • ChrissieK says:

      Poor old Jason, not exactly there for his charm or knowledge of dance…you have to wonder is that a dictionary in your pocket or are you really happy to see me? (If it is Webster’s, then he should pull it out and use it!)

      • PIMB says:

        Oh Lord no :)

      • MC says:

        Randy on AI sometimes seemed to be inarticulate because he relied too much on his pet phrases. Jason really does have a very limited vocabulary, although he is also way out of his comfort zone on this panel. He simply does not know much about dance.

  10. david7118 says:

    Standing Ovarion? I know you mean Standing Ovation but the image brought to mind by that typo made me laugh out loud.

  11. Ally_D says:

    Not enough footage of Jim Nowakowski for my liking but after a brief glimpse of him (“Travis thinks you should take a ballet class”) I kept spotting him in the background of shots so I think he’s probably still there. He’s my number 1 pick for the top 10; if he gets cut I want a personal explanation from Nigel!!! Other standouts for me are Jaja – she seems to transform into a different person when she dances, truly transcendental – and StandingO – girl can pop and hit as hard as I’ve ever seen anyone do it.
    .
    And is it just me or does this new format make it harder for the judges to eliminate stage dancers? They’re all trained so are used to picking up choreography and therefore they don’t get cut at the same rate as the street dancers, many of whom are being choreographed for the first time. In previous seasons it was inability for stage dancers to adapt to other styles e.g. ballroom or hip-hop that led to them being cut. Now with that variable removed I fear there will be a bigger pool of stage contestants left in the final round at Vegas which could lead to the judges having to make split second decisions to get it down to 10 and increasing the chances of them making a wrong cut.
    .
    I realise that Vegas has already happened and the Top 20 dye is already cast but these are my feelings…

    • PIMB says:

      Feeeelings! Wooo Wooo wooo Feeeeelings! :) Really. Who wants to see Bill Gates dance for his life if he was cut? A little less wedding and a lot more Jim please!!!

    • Trinity says:

      The one thing I notice with Stage vs Street.. is Street already has the personality factor.. Many of the stage dancer (albeit great dancers) come off as limp rags.. Out of the stage dancers The Latin Ballroom guy caught my attention more than the others..

      • Vala says:

        Could not agree more. Street has so much more personality than stage, and there are so many street girls that I can see as winners. I was sure that when they announced the change that street would not have a chance going against stage but now I’m not so sure. So far the only stage standouts are a girl I don’t know the name of (kinda looks like the blond from last season who was really good but personality lacking in a lot of routines) and the latin ballroom guy! That guy is killing it. But pretty sure Yaya is winning the whole thing, and if Standing O does not make it to the top 10 I’m officially quitting this show.

        But the best thing for the show (that will never happen), is if Nigel would just kick himself of the show. That would make it so much better. I miss the good old days when they would rotated the choreographers and bring them to the judging table, also where is Lil C’ I miss him soooo much.

  12. Mary Frances Granell says:

    Yorelis Apolinario is certainly tge best of the street dancers – Team Twitch- male or female!!!!

  13. Moria says:

    Why is Nigel so cruel to Paula? I figure he’s trying to fake a Simon/Paula dynamic but it’s so awkward and uncomfortable to watch. It almost comes off as bullying at times. He needs to get the memo that the mean old days of American Idol judges is over and a more positive vibe is now in. Also Travis, learn how to pronounce choreography. And Jason just needs to leave. Otherwise, why get into the contestants at this point? My one thought was they sure kept many I would have cut. They always spend lots of time focusing on people who don’t make it and don’t even mention many who will end up in the top 20. It looks like next week is when we meet the real contestants.

  14. Nate says:

    Really interesting to see Denys the Latin Ballroom Guy, considering he won season 3 of So You Think You Can Dance Canada. Feels a little disingenuous of the show not to mention that, especially when they show Nigel asking him things like “Are you sure you’re not a contemporary dancer?” (Which he is, actually. He was listed as Ballroom/Contemporary on CanaDance).

    That being said, he’s great, and should make the Top 20.

  15. J says:

    I’m not sure if it has been mentioned here and I didn’t find anything when I searched online but one of the contestants this season is the winner of SYTYCD Canada Season 3, Denys. He is the latin ballroom dancer dressed all in black and Nigel even jokingly asked him if he lied to them and was secretly a contemporary dancer.

  16. Mona Cattanach says:

    I too breathed a sigh of relief as many of the sob stories went home. I never felt the newlywed wife had the sharpness and clarity of a lot of the other contemporary girls and her new husband, while he seemed sweet and well intentioned should never in my opinion have made it to Vegas. I was worried that Nigel would keep them around for so many reasons-family vs family stage vs street or to repeat the idiotic decision to cast a husband and wife together like season 6’s Ryan (great dancer) and Ashleigh (not so great dancer) Di Lello Or at the very least to bring them to the “green mile” only to cut one and send one through-cue ominous music!
    I hope we are deliberately being kept in the dark about the truly great stage dancers as some sort of tension building surprise for next week as they sure have been stingy with clips of and or information about them!

    • justmeandme says:

      they have been very stingy with showing dance these last couple of shows, seemed like in the past you got to see a greater range of dancer, maybe the seasons were longer in the past? I just hate the glimpses of dancers and then off to watch the judges faces again or another sob story

  17. I am scared this will be the last season of SYTYCD. It is my favorite show on TV summer or fall and even with the changes it still is the best dance competition show on. I will grieve if it is cancelled. I am worried because most of my friends who used to watch are watching the Bachelorette double oy vey

  18. Pat Laliberté says:

    I too, was disappointed they didn’t spend enough time with Darion, the Ballet dancer. He impressed me very much. He looked very strong, but very “light” in his dancing. I think he should be in top 20!

  19. Denise Zogbi says:

    Darion Flores is amazing!!

  20. tflores says:

    Blink and you did miss a great solo. What a graceful dancer Darion Flores is. He is amazing to watch on stage. I hope he makes it to the top 20.