Yep, So You Think You Can Dance‘s Season 10 Vegas Week played out Tuesday night like a Vin Diesel summer blockbuster — too fast, too furious — whittling down a crop of 159 hoofers with the ruthlessness of a combine harvester moving across a wheat field.
Call me crazy, but I’d have preferred to see Vegas Week extended over two episodes. I mean, with six separate rounds — solo, hip-hop, jazz, ballroom, groups and contemporary — there was simply too much good (and bad) dancing left on the cutting room floor. And simply too much trumped-up drama — the moping and sulking hot Eastern European Mariia, the emotional tarring and feathering of hot Eastern European Armen, the shaming of Sydney — stealing valuable screen time, as well. (Plus, no explanation of why adorable Tommy Tibball got cut! Phooey!)
Making matters worse, when we did actually get to see the bulk of a routine, there was so much cutting to the various judges’ reactions — Twitch whooping, Adam Shankman gyrating, the unspeakably lovely Hannah Simone misting up — that it felt hard to truly connect on an emotional level. A good rule of thumb for future seasons, Nigel: If something is stunning enough to cause a three-Kleenex alarm for Mary and Adam, maybe keep the camera on it for more than 10 seconds at a time, okay? Okay.
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Okay, okay…enough of me acting all Grouchy McCrankypants. Without further ado, my five favorite moments from Vegas!
Du-Shaunt “Fik-Shun” Stegall’s Solo | I know the producers are probably trying to foist him all the way to the finale, but man the kid is remarkable. I loved how he threw almost Fosse-esque snaps and wiggles into a b-boy routine that made it look as though he’d “swallowed” the beat. And dude has to be part robot the way he can bend back at the knees and practically touch the ground with his head.
Sonya Tayeh’s Craziness | Nobody makes Vegas as intense for the trembling contestants as the jazz choreographer. “Stop talking! Start feeling and start looking!” she growled, as the contestants sat nodding eagerly. I loved how she demanded that every contestant surrender any doubt in his or her partner, “even if you just met!” I dunno, there’s something about having a choreographer’s eyes widen, watching her hiss encouragements like “your body can handle more than your mind thinks it can!” and “I want to see blood, sweat, tears — dying for your spot here!” that makes it all the more satisfying when a contestant like Amy Yakima nails the choreography with a little extra passion and extension.
Dmirty’s Chaplin’s Eyebrows | Yeah yeah, it was only 5 seconds of footage, but I loved his multiple suggestive brow lifts as fellow SYTYCD vet Chelsie Hightower broke it on down about the sexiness of the ballroom routine they were teaching the contestants.
Jenna Johnson’s Ballroom Moves | I’ll admit I’m partial to a ballroom chica, but last year’s Lindsay-Witney combo never quite made my heart go aflutter. Jenna’s execution of the Vegas ballroom routine showed brute strength, a willingness to be sexy (without a side of coy girlishness) and gams for days.
‘Boston Heroes’ Group Routine | I kind wish the quintet hadn’t shared the story of their routine — people coming together and rising up in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings — because, for starters, it seemed a very odd fit with “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” and secondly, I like to be able to draw my own interpretations from a routine. Nevertheless, ballroom brothers Alan and Gene, contemporary gals Kayla and Jasmine, and the aforementioned Jenna really did succeed, as Adam noted, in making something intriguing happen any which way you looked. The fact that they’ve got the inherent skill set to concoct something with that much strength, maturity and fluidity bodes well for when they’re thrown into the fray with the show’s top-notch choreographers.
Honorable Mention: BluPrint vs Jade — Animation-Off | Well, we all knew Stacey was going to put them both through to the Top 33, but it was really fun to see the dueling animators twitch and vibrate their way across the stage. (That said, Jade was significantly better in his “Dance for Your Life” number earlier in the episode, no? And despite his relative lack of comparative screentime, BluPrint kinda outdanced Jade, yes?)
And with that, let me turn things over to you. What did you think of last night’s SYTYCD? Who provided your favorite moments? Were you like me, wishing there was more actual dancing? Sound off in the comments, and for all my reality TV news, interviews, and recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!