So You Think You Can Dance Recap: (G)Hosts With the Most

There’s a reason So You Think You Can Dance‘s Cat Deely gets an Emmy nomination every year as Outstanding Reality-Competition Host — just don’t get me ranting about her lack of an actual win in the category — and she proved it tonight by referencing Edvard Munch’s “Scream” and Calvin Klein’s ad campaigns while praising Edson and Megz’s stunning contemporary routine.

Let’s see recent Emmy winners Heidi Klum or Jeff Probst or Jane Lynch juggle such disparate references — in a live TV setting, no less — while also serving next-level glamour in black sequins and dangerously steep heels.

Even better, Cat’s emcee skills weren’t the only cause for celebration on SYTYCD this week. Team Stage’s end-of-episode group routine — built around Travis Wall’s beautiful ghost-light nightmares — and the judges’ choice for Team Street elimination (which put the “Byeee” in “B-Boyeee”) had me reviving Mary Murphy’s Hot Tamale war cry from my living room couch.

[Side poll: Was Nigel’s shout-out to his fired former panelist sweet or sacrilegious?]

While you ponder that question, let me spill the results, then endeavor to rank the night’s routines, and, finally, cook up power lists for the Street and Stage sides based on individual members’ performances during the entire episode.

Bottom 3 Team Stage (Based on Last Week’s Vote)

Bottom 3 Team Street (Based on Last Week’s Vote)

Derek’s back injury — which kept him from even rehearsing over the last few days — made him the obvious pick for an ouster, but given Ariana’s gorgeous contemporary piece and Asaf’s total failure in jazz, I had to Tweet violently on the former Team Street-er’s behalf.

Ugh — looks like I’ve got tens of thousands of backhands to dole out in the next seven days!

Twitter Saved
Derek (¡!)

Saved by the Judges


And now, let’s dish who’s left…

Routines (Ranked Worst to Best)
8. Kate and Asaf (Sean Cheesman, Jazz) |  I realize the entire pre-performance package focused on a scary lift that (without any mention from the judges) was cut before the live show — and maybe that’s reason enough to cut Kate some slack. (Fear, after all, rarely pairs well with creative pursuit.) Still, while Asaf barely executed a series of tentative moves (connected by random, rhythm-less walking and some amazing ab work), Kate wasn’t much better when it came to forging a connection with her partner. Combined with her creepy “get to know me!” clip about how she was almost kidnapped as a child — THIS IS YOUR ONE 15-SECOND ANECDOTE, GIRL? — I expect her on the chopping block again next week.

7. Yorelis and Marissa (Christopher Scott, Hip-Hop) | On a night of especially strong routines, this piece about a hypnotic intro to street dancing felt a little slight — and short on challenging choreo, too. Jason Derulo broke from his usual “whatever Nigel or Paula said” stance to insist the piece “fell a little short” — and for once, dude was correct.

6. JJ and choreographer Leonardo* [in place of injured Derek] (Miriam and Leonardo, Argentine Tango) | JJ showed a physical control and maturity this week that proved she’s more versatile than she’s been allowed to previously show. Still, I’d have loved to see more passion in her facial expressions, a little more light behind the eyes (if you’ll forgive me sounding like Tyra Banks judging Top Model), and combined with her Bottom 3 showing this week, I suspect she’ll ultimately finish just shy of the Top 10.

5. Alexia and Neptune (Dave Scott, Hip-Hop) | The judges went loony over this piece about a pair of mental-hospital patients with a dangerous attraction, but I thought everything looked better in Alexia and Neptune’s rehearsal package. For starters, the couple’s synchronization suffered during the various “hang from the padded wall” moments, and even worse, there were a number of steps where Neptune (and especially Alexia) came across sloppier than Paula Abdul during her Idol judging days. Not that it was all bad — Alexia proved with her handstand twerkery that she’s got more than “cutie patootie” in her repertoire, while Neptune’s last-second tongue-flick brought some additional playful naughtiness to the proceedings, too.

3. (tie) Jim and Ariana (Sean Cheesman, Contemporary) | I always feel like dancers who get oodles of backstory setup have an unfair advantage, but in this case, Jim and Ariana’s portrait of a depressed man shaking off his demons was a piece of art that stood beautifully apart from the museum-style caption declaring, “This is where depression hurts.” Ariana showcased enviable physical strength in the way she dragged her partner about the stage, while Jim continued his reign as the season’s most outstanding leaper. (Not to be confused with outstanding Leeper.) Just as crucial, the duo allowed us as an audience to stand right in the center of their fraught physical struggle. This wasn’t quite Kayla and Kupono’s “addiction dance,” but it contributed to an episode where stage-style choreo trumped the street stuff up against it.

3. (tie) Hailee and Jaja (Ray Leeper, Jazz) | There was some eye-popping athleticism on display in Hailee and Jaja’s duet — that slide to the back of the stage! the way the gals synched up as they fell to their backs and threw their legs up! — but Jason was right (ugh — I hate typing such awfulness for the second time in one recap) that some of Jaja’s extensions fell short up against Hailee’s flawless technique. Also, it needs to be brought up: Couldn’t Ray Leeper have picked something other than the Dianne Reeves jam on which Gaby slayed her second Season 12 tap audition?

2. Virgil and Gaby (Al Blackstone, Broadway) | Most of SYTYCD‘s Broadway routines make me want to hit the fast-forward button — or start voting frantically for whatever poor contestants have gotten saddled with the cheesiest style in the show’s arsenal‚ but Al Blackstone’s tale of two NYC residents colliding on a sidewalk and rediscovering a connection was surprisingly marvelous. Yes, the pair’s height differential was comical — for about 10 seconds — but Virgil moves with such springboard-fueled joy, and Gaby with such easy elegance, that it was impossible not to get swept up in the story they were telling. I especially loved the side-by-side drop-splits and Gaby’s over-the-shoulder wink. Is it daft of me to want Fox to option this dance and reimagine it as a one-hour musical pilot? (If yes, don’t tell me!)

1. Megz and Edson (Talia Favia, Contemporary) | Just when I was beginning to develop a case of the mean blues about Sonya Tayeh’s absence this season, along comes Talia Favia with a gorgeous routine about the struggle against temptation. (Missed opportunity to play that Corina jam from the early ’90s, but ah well…) The “shirt over face” twist that grossed out Megz in rehearsal was stunningly (and rather surprisingly) successful at capturing her character’s angst, while Edson finally had a chance to match his emotional intensity to his physical strength. This was not only the most content-packed routine of the episode — I loved the way that, at one point, the duo formed a sort of low-to-the-ground table made of human limbs — but also its most thrilling.

Team Stage Individual Rankings
1. Hailee
2. Jim
3. Edson
4. Gaby
5. Alexia
6. Kate
7. Derek

Team Street Individual Rankings
1. Megz
2. Virgil
3. Jaja
4. Ariana
5. Neptune
6. Yorelis
7. JJ

With that, I turn things over to you. What did you think of Season 12 Top 16 results night? Take our polls below, then sound off in the comments!

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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  1. Aki says:

    There is an exciting potential for the Top Ten not to be evenly split between guys and girls for the first time on SYTYCD. I’m predicting a 6-4 (girls-guys) or even a 7-3 ratio depend on voting from now on.

  2. Logan S says:

    Whats with your jj hate? I loved that AT from her tonight. That was tied at the top for me with Hailee and Jaja and Virgil and Gaby. Youre individual rankings are way off for me. I dont understand your Jim love. Gaby should steadily be in the top 3. Even on the night she was still in the top 3.

  3. Tata says:

    Justice was halfway done tonight. Derek shouldve gone home. Not Marissa. Asaf dragged Marissa all the way down. Bye As af.

    • Temperance says:

      Why? Derek has been a lot better than Marissa and several of the others on the street side.

      • Davin says:

        So he can heal fully and maintain a healthy dancing lifestyle? Keeping him so he’d have to maybe not be fully healed by this week’s practice is a bit shortsighted. Back injuries are serious, not to be rushed through or compound more stress on it. Marissa could’ve at least practice without that thought of reinjury hanging over her head.

  4. Dave says:

    I thought tonight was a great night for the dancers. Most of the dances were superb. I must say I disagree with Jaja and Hailee’s rank at number 3 on your performance rank list. I thought their’s was a little underwhelming. So glad Asaf is gone. Also, I loved Alexia and Neptune’s and Gaby and Virgil’s chemistry.
    Predicted Bottom 3:
    Team Stage: Kate, Derek, Alexia. Saved- Alexia. Eliminated- Derek and Kate
    Team Street: JJ, Yorelis, Ariana. Saved- Yorelis. Eliminated- Ariana and JJ

  5. Tata says:

    What was up with that Mary shoutout by Nygel?…Paula A does get stuck on repeat
    Noticed Derulo was defensive tonight.

  6. Tata says:

    Some o f those “packages” LOL were pretty creepy tonight like the one about the child stalker. NLOL

  7. Sammi says:


    Literally everyone killed it which worries me next week cause 4 people are leaving.

    Notice how as soon as they go to pairs they have their best show…

    Alexia doesnt get enough credit at all…especially not for outperforming Neptune this week

    Edson stepped it up big time. Megz is flying semi-under the radar but I feel like she’ll make it to the end.

    Damn Jaja is so much better than she was last year.

    IDK how Kate wasn’t safe after last week- but it looks like her time’s up unless she gets a hiphop or contemporary routine and murders it

    Gaby is crazy good.

    Yorelis and JJ just aren’t standing out with the talent on Team Street.

    Hailee just became the front runner on Team Stage

    Asaf is so hotttt…but thank god he’s gone

    Derek’s lucky he was twitter saved cuz he would have gone home otherwise

    Jim doesn’t excite me the way others in this competition do

    JJ was great but her routine wasnt that memorable

    If Virgil doesnt have a bad routine next week he’s winning this whole thing…I just wish he would turn down the personality half a notch

    Bottom 6:
    Kate, Alexia (Saved), Derek
    Ariana, JJ, Yorelis (Saved)

    This Top 10: Edson, Jim, Alexia, Gaby, Hailee, Virgil, Neptune, Yorelis, Jaja, Megz- will be the best in the show’s history

    Final 6: Edson, Megz
    Final 4: Hailee, Gaby, Virgil, Jaja

    • Logan S says:

      Its great to hear someones Final Four is the same as mine. If it is them, I would be estatic, but I feel Jim might mess up our plans. I do not understand the Jim love. Go Gaby!

    • Wes says:

      This is a ridiculously competitive season and I feel like it comes down completwly to the dance styles and choreographers each week cause pretty much everyone left could wnd up winning based.


    • Temperance says:

      Wow, I pretty much agree with all of that.

    • Michelle says:

      Not sure how someone can say Yorelis doesn’t stand out in team street after that last team street group dance. She just hasn’t gotten very good duo/trio routines, but in the group numbers it’s very clear she’s one of the stronger ones.

    • Evan says:

      Sorry but no Top 10 will ever be better than season 4!! Joshua, Twitch, Katee,Comfort, Chelsie, Mark, Courtney, Gev, Will, and Kherington!!!

  8. Anna says:

    Jason hates Asaf cuz Asaf has better abs

  9. msemmyjones says:

    Really glad to see we’ve gone back to duos instead of the past few weeks of awkward trios and quartets. For some reason the small group routines never seem to work for me nearly as much as the duets.

  10. Wes says:

    I wanna see Gaby, Edson, Kate, and Ariana get hiphop next week !!!

  11. Sudie says:

    The hostess has GOT to GO!!
    She is terrible!!!!!!!

    • CAT DEELY!!! says:

      DONT GO ON CAT DEELEY LIKE THAT. CAT IS BOMB…”Lovely Travis” cracked me up




      Thank You!!!

    • Rafael says:

      Cat already won the People’s Choice Award for being the best TV reality host of the year! You can’t get rid of her now!

  12. Mona Cattanach says:

    So tired of blah opening numbers, Even with 16 dancers, those street moves which have dominated every opener this season just do not fill the space on that massive stage or jump off my tv screen into my living room.

    Sorry to see Derek or any dancer for that matter injured, but never a hardship to see Leonardo dance

    I want to like Kate, but just can’t connect. Nigel’s repeated saves are taking on a “Jenna Johnsonesque” quality for me.

    Loved everything about Gabby and Virgil’s number.

    Just don’t get Megz’s appeal.

    Alexia is killing it.

    Did anyone else Kat screwed up when she said Marissa had already worked it out that she was in danger? Not sure how that worked since Edson still had not danced. .

    • Logan S says:

      The Megz appeal for me is the she really can dance, and I never know what to expect from her. And she acts extremely well. She dives into the character whole-heartedly and its just fun to watch.

    • Temperance says:

      Megz has been pretty phemomenal so far. I don’t get Alexia’s appeal at all. Marissa and Alexia were destined for the teens, but at least this season, they ladies of the top 20 are distinctive. There were multiple seasons where the crowd of small, competent brunettes were pretty much indistinguishable enough that I skipped trying to learn their names unless they made the top 10…

    • Denise says:

      I caught that too! Was wondering if I missed something as I fast forwarded thru JD’s comments.

  13. naja says:

    I think that jj did a good job it’s not Dereks fault that he hurt his back I think jj and Derek should be in the top 3

  14. naja says:

    That’s messed up u think asaf and kite should have stayed not because he’s cute neither because there great dancers so that’s just messed up

  15. LynnH says:

    Did Alexia want us to think of her as someone who taunts her aging, blind dog? I’m guessing no.

  16. Bella says:

    Does any one know what Team Street yells? Squat? What does that mean?

  17. Diane Austin says:

    I’m ecstatic asef is gone. Judges made a mistake having him on the show. Every choreographer has had to adjust for him! We are her to vote favorite dancer, not for favorite imbecile. Also, bring Mary back. She is missed by everyone!

    • Lidia says:

      Anytime Asaf brings all his partners down and actually makes one of them cry cause theyre scared- you know he shouldn’t be on the show. And don’t bring back Mary- being back guest judges and kick Jason off…where are Misty Copeland, Christina Applegate, Jenna Dewan, Tara Lipinski, Adam Shankman, Debbie Allen, and Jessie Tyler!!! I want people who actually bring something to the show rather than giving three word critiques, hating on Asaf, focusing in on Neptune, and obsessing over JJ’s body!

      • Temperance says:

        I’m not as displeased, but I could do without Derulo stat.

      • Jillette Razer says:

        Misty Copeland was my favorite guest judge. i’d love it if she was a permanent member of the judging panel. She delivers super technical critiques which are probably off-putting to those want an entertainer instead of a judge.

  18. whiskey says:

    I don’t understand why more people aren’t excited about Arianna. She’s not only gorgeous, but she’s an incredibly versatile dancer – she’s my favorite, yet she’s constantly at the bottom :\

    • Tata says:

      Maybe its her look?

      • Choir Girl says:

        What about “her look”? She’s svelte and gorgeous.

        • Choir Girl says:

          But for this type of show perception of offstage personality sometimes trumps overall ability. Both Yorelis and Ariana outdanced Jaja and JJ last night, especially in the group routine. Jaja has been fierce at times but she’s not as strong technically outside her own krumping style. JJ’s cute personality has been highlighted by the producers all season so that gives her a leg up. That’s not how I’d vote or hire, but in this context, I get it.

    • Temperance says:

      I’m not sure either. She certainly stood out tonight.

  19. Temperance says:

    The Team Stage group number was Emmy worthy. Just had to throw that out there.

  20. Jillette Razer says:

    we lost our sexiest dancers last night. at least marissa deserved a spot in the competition. asaf probably went home and ate a dozen donuts and then laughed about how fat he’s gotten.

    so how will it work next week? two of the bottom three will be eliminated? will the judges pick or will it go to twitter?

  21. Hanna says:

    I really hope that history doesn’t repeat itself(eliminating amelia in season 9! I wasn’t ready to let her go before top 10) with this 4 people elimination in one episode! This is just unfair :( but if I have to Let go of people I really hope for it to be Neptun and yorelis from team street and kate and derek from team stage.
    And while JJ’s routin was good I still think as far as ATs go in this competition Haley’s season 10 was the most memorable(just my opinion)

  22. Thank you for reminding me that the last thing I watched before bed last night was the ghost routine. I awoke recalling not one but TWO deathmares, including one about dragging a soon to be corpse to a cafe and propping him up at the bar while we (the husband and I, who was NO help with dragging the near-dead across the street, by the way – I was left schlepping and lugging his body across a major intersection as he trotted ahead) waited for a table. On another note, glad to see SYTYCD back in fine fettle; it’s going to be painful to watch the upcoming eliminations.

  23. Behzad Sandila says:

    The universe dealt poor Marissa a really bad hand. I was so sure she’d get saved this week because it would be unfair to punish her for Asaf’s shortcomings but that didn’t happen. On a lighter note, I know some of the show’s mainstay choreographers won’t appear this season due to other commitments but the new additions are BRILLIANT! Al Blackstone and Talia Favia need to do more work on the show! So do last week’s Jaci Royal (Team Stage’s group piece) and Reina & Asiel (opener).

  24. Alyssa says:

    It seemed like every week Nigel had something bad to say about Marissa so I was not surprised she went home. But I really thought Derek was gonna go home. I can’t remember a single routine he was in, he just doesn’t stand out for me.

  25. Ally says:

    I know that the dance community is small and many of these dancers know each other season to season but it really bugs me that Kate is actually EMPLOYED by Travis Wall in his Shaping Sound dance company and that has never been mentioned. He’s not a judge so maybe it doesn’t matter but it just doesn’t sit well with me.

  26. I feel this new concept is awful. Little to no ballroom, crotch grabbing, groin grinding. Street looks the same no matter what they do. I see why Mary left show losing it’s class, not a positive message for kids.

  27. Jillete Razer says:

    How do people feel about these “female empowerment” pieces choreographed by men?

  28. Rafael says:

    I agree that everybody hates Asaf and now all of us should be happy that Asaf has been finally eliminated.

    I think Alexia, Jaja and Virgil are my favorite three dancers so far, IMO! Best criticisms, routines and saviors!

  29. AJ says:

    Megz is this year’s Sasha for me. Her strength and her vulnerability come from the exact same place and it’s incredible to watch. Would love to see her do a Christopher Scott lyrical hip-hop number.

  30. Jan says:

    I was so pleased by the show last night. What an improvement over the first few episodes!

  31. Jared says:

    Corina’s “Temptation” was everything, Michael!

  32. swaggerboo says:

    I thought last night’s show was great. I’m so glad Asaf is gone but what’s with the JJ hate? She was amazing! I love Megz, Hailee,Virgil and Jaja as well. Ariana doesn’t get enough credit as a dancer she’s amazing too. Derek needs to go next week..I still don’t understand why he stayed over Marissa.

  33. Betty Guleserian says:

    This show has been a raging disappointment this year. They have lost their focus. Bu-bye, SYTYCD!

  34. Betty Guleserian says:

    The show is no longer interesting. Bu-bye. So sad for the real dancers

  35. I loved the show tonight. How can JJ’s tango not give chills. To do a tango like that in a week for a street dancer deserves props. And she looked delicious. How could there not be smolder with Alexandro. He’s something else. Had to say I did like the street group dance mainly because it looked simple and doable. I just love this show. And I love Cat. I call her the sweet smart giantess.