So You Think You Can Dance might only get an hour of weekly airtime this summer — but the Fox series knows how to wring every last drop of drama out of those 60 minutes.
Now that the Academy contestants — well, most of them — have survived the hip-hop round, Monday’s episode presented the remaining hopefuls with back-to-back challenges: contemporary and ballroom.
In the hour that followed, a number of seemingly finale-bound dancers were eliminated — and, weirdly, it was their All-Star coaches who did most of the crying. Below, let’s recap the four biggest moments from Monday’s installment:
STRONGEST SOLO | Shortly after watching his flexing partner, Klassic, get cut after the contemporary round, Huwer “Havoc” Marche Jr. came thisclose to elimination himself. But rather than let the pressure of dancing for his life get the best of him, Havoc performed an inventive and thoroughly joyous solo that quickly got him recruited to Cyrus’ team. I worry that Havoc will still struggle when asked to move outside hip-hop in the future, but his solo was so compelling, it would have been a crime not to give him a second chance.
MOST UNEXPECTED ELIMINATION | Here’s something we can file under Shocking Academy Moments: the ouster of ballroom dancer Jensen Arnold, who, somewhat surprisingly, was the last person to join Robert’s All-Star team in the first place. After passing the ballroom test with flying colors (save for a minor stumble at the end of her cha-cha), Jensen was sent home after the group round on Day 3. Considering how much screen time she’d been given thus far — and her relationship to Lindsay Arnold, who’s become a staple of the pro dance world — I was utterly stunned to see Jensen dismissed so early in the competition.
MOST UNNECESSARY SAVE | Ballroom dancer Vasily — who you’ll likely remember as one-half of Kristina and Vasily, the couple who sealed their audition with a kiss — was about to get cut post-contemporary round, when All-Star Paul swooped in to save him at the last minute. During next-day rehearsals for the group round, though, Vasily revealed an unfortunate personality trait: He’s a total jerk! After criticizing wife Kristina and nitpicking the choreography, Vasily was ultimately the group member who failed to impress on stage and was eliminated as swiftly as he was saved. SYTYCD editors, use your precious hour more wisely!
BEST GROUP PERFORMANCE | Real talk: I have no idea why any reality competition still makes its contestants suffer through a group round. No sleep! No cooperation with your teammates! No fun at all! But there are occasional bright spots, like the performance that Allison Holker’s team gave, set to Harry Styles’ “Sign of the Times.” Well-choreographed and emotionally stirring from start to finish, the routine was so strong that when Allison Holker initially booted hip-hopper Kevin Davis Jr., ballroom pro Jenna Johnson decided to save him. (I hate that this moment seemed so staged, but it seemed so staged. Then again, Jenna did have to eliminate two of her own contestants in return for saving Kevin — sorry, Alexis and JJ! — so perhaps Jenna’s decision wasn’t totally producer-manipulated, after all.)
With that, I hand it over to you. What did you think of Day 2 at The Academy? Did any eliminations shock you? Hit the comments with your reactions!