SYTYCD Recap: Too Le Jit to Quit


As someone who watches a lot of reality TV, my cynicism-o-meter tends to start beeping whenever I hear an extended voiceover about the power of second chances, the long road to redemption or the final rose of the night.

Fret not, I’ll always have mockery in my heart for The Bachelorette* (AKA Fameosexual Playground), but when it comes to So You Think You Can Dance, I’ve learned to give the eye rolls a rest and simply succumb to the beauty of the art form in front of me — be it tap or krump or “Jit” (Detroit’s homegrown style) or the much maligned Russian folk dance. (*Now being recapped by my colleague Rebecca Iannucci!)

Maybe that’s why instead of shouting, “Learn to take no for an answer!”, I applauded plucky hoofer Gaby Diaz, who got rejected during the Season 12 Dallas auditions, then flew a week later to Detroit, where she bloomed like Paula Abdul’s raw vocals under the studious care of a dozen studio wizards. And in the same vein, the 19-year-old with a violent streak who’s essentially raising her sisters, the handsome krumper who brought his toddler on stage and even the helium-voiced sprite “Bang Banged” their way into my heart over the course of the two-hour telecast.

I know, I know, earnestness is probably the wrong mood for recapping a program executive produced and judged by Nigel Lythgoe — keeping it real, though, I’d have said “Nope!” to both halves of the Vegas-bound engaged couple, and, sadly, to the handsome Jit specialist — so I’ll cut straight to my countdown of Detroit’s Top 5 auditions:

5. Kenya “Standing O” Sutton | I’m not sure the self-proclaimed “Queen of Detroit” possesses all the skills necessary to win Season 12 — she admitted herself that she lacks training — but I liked that she combined grown-woman raunchiness with appealing goofballery during an animation sequence that looked like she had electricity running through her veins.

5. Brooke Fong | Her pirouette actually made it look like she was a figure skater, and I liked that she owned her sexuality, rather than giving Nigel the kind of “oh, gosh golly” coyness he tends to favor.

4. Christine Shepard | The episode’s opening performer came off a wee bit cocky in her pre-performance interview — alas, a much bigger crime for voters when you’re a female contestant — but her speed, her extension and her sense of musicality completely backed up her bravado, no?

3. Miranda Wikling | This kid was lucky enough to have her local audition fall on her 18th b’day, but we were the ones who got all the presents, thanks to an absolutely explosive jazz routine set to a slamming hip-hop score. If she’s got vulnerability in her repertoire, too, she could be a major threat.

2. Gaby Diaz | Genius choice of Dianne Reeves’ “Endangered Species” probably helped her cause, but girlfriend managed to be sensual, playful, powerful and humorous — sometimes all at once — while deftly handling a variety of tap rhythms.

1. Lydell Shannon | Episode-closing krumper lived up to his “beastly but smooth” promise by combining hyper-aggressive gestures with an almost lyrical flow across the stage.

OK, your turn. Who were your favorite hopefuls from the Detroit auditions? Sound off in the comments with your thoughts!

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. Pleasantly surprised that Paula and Jason sounded more knowledgeable tonight. Better editing, response to critical comments, or something else?

  2. Cathy B. says:

    So far, I think the dancing is just not as good as previous years. Way too many mediocre contemporary dancers put through to Vegas. But some good tappers tonight.

    • Mel says:

      I felt there were way too many mediocre stage and street dancers pushed through to Vegas. Without the option of choreography at the end of the day, it seems they’ll let just about anyone with a modicum of talent through. Between the format change and the bad judging choices, this season is off to a terrible start. I couldn’t care less about the whole “Stage vs. Street” thing. I want talented, versatile dancers and it appears we aren’t going to get that this year.

  3. Lana says:

    Awesome tapping and I loved Brooke’s dance too. In fact I enjoyed it all and am loving Paula. Nigel definitely did not look pleased when she and Jason sent the street half of the couple through to Vegas. Jason did do better in his judging tonight and I am enjoying street better than I thought I would.

  4. libby says:

    sadly have quit watching what was one of my favorite summer programs..this year it stinks

  5. Justin says:

    There were a lot of dancers from both sides I liked again. I especially loved both halves of the engaged couple dance (street dancing to a slow song was very creative to me), Lydell Shannon the crumper, Brooke Fong, and that last tap dancer who came for a second chance.

  6. danin says:

    Thought all the featured women stage dancers were highly good.Loved their creativity,especially the first one. Nah pretty much all of them. And the Queen of Detroit brought something new to street dancing. And the kid w/the orange hair did some intriguing stuff too. Krump guy was indeed powerful.

  7. dlonyc4 says:

    So is Jason D just there as a good-looking dude to be flirted with?? Is that the point of his massive and unrelenting pointlessness? Because it’s certainly not his dance “background” (can’t even say it without scare quotes) or knowledge/vocabulary (“Your kicks were really up there!”). Whether you enjoy her personality or not, Paula is legit, but the addition of Derulo is just an embarrassingly epic fail.

  8. Janie says:

    Michael, I believe the krumper’s name was Roydell Shannon, not Lydell :)

  9. Mona Cattanach says:

    I apparently have a harder time ignoring my cynisicim-o-meter than Michael Slezak does. Only the second episode and I am already over the tough/violent dancer with the heart of gold back story. Especially when the dancer in question is, at least to my eye, mediocre.
    Full disclosure. I am not a trained dancer and I do prefer to watch the “stage” dance styles. That said I am not questioning the dedication and hours of training of the truly skilled dancers of any style, Maybe it’s my lack of familiarity with some of the street styles, but I just don’t see anything remarkable in many of those put through last night.
    I did respond to the crumper who closed the episode, as much for his personality and the positive energy he seemed to radiate as much as to his dancing.
    Just as contemporary dancers are measured against the likes of Melanie Moore and Travis Wall, where are this year’s Twitches and Fik Shuns. Changing the format is one thing, but please don’t lower the standards in service to the new format.
    On a positive note, Paula seemed more settled in last night and actually offered some thoughtful critiques.

  10. bascoda says:

    Now if they’ll only do it as two shows so I can watch the styles I like and ignore the ones I don’t, I’ll be a happy camper.

  11. bern says:

    Surprised, Michael – the female half of the couple was excellent! – For the male half, I just feel like I need to see more – he has potential.

  12. Meg says:

    If this board is any indication of the interest in this show this year, this will probably be the last. After every American Idol show lots of people were on board here to discuss and it is being cancelled!

  13. Am I the only one who still has SYTYCD on my DVR from last year. I watch each episode at least twice and then can’t bear to erase them

  14. ChuckDiesel says:

    I think Dancers of all styles are AMAZING to watch & every year this show manages to find some of the very best out there. Of course some I prefer over others & there are some I may not care for at all, but from costumes to concepts to choreographies to dancers this show also delivers season after season. I agree with most tjere are some dancers put through to Vegas who may not have been with the old choreography round, but till I see how Vegas goes I can’t judge. I look forward to seeing what certain people can bring to the show. My favorite so far is definitely Gaby Diaz the tapper, but we shall see what Vegas throws her way