A beautiful and completely unexpected thing happened on the first So You Think You Can Dance results show of Season 12.
No, Travis Wall didn’t renounce his usual mangling of the word “choreography,” nor did executive producer Nigel Lythgoe stop his nasty habit of trying to sway audience opinions via pre-performance packages.
The good news, though, is that thanks to a new Twitter-save twist (borrowed from those social-media savvy cats at The Voice), we the people (obsessed with reality-competition series) were granted the ability to remove the most egregious at-risk dancers from the ever-capricious whims of Tweedle Weeee, Tweedle Duh and Tweedle Brit.
Granted, I’m not wholly convinced that we didn’t end up losing two of the season’s most talented performers by the end of the telecast anyhow, but at least we’re the ones who dropped the eggs out in the supermarket parking lot, as opposed to having the cashier hurl ’em down against the conveyor belt while we stood by in silent horror (so to speak).
Anyhow, let’s hear it for the Twitter Save — and Cat Deeley’s Emmy nomination, shall we? And with that out of the way, I shall spill the results, then endeavor to rank the night’s routines, and then 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)
At the start of the night, I couldn’t have imagined a scenario in which I’d rank either Derek or Moises over Darion, but the guy who leapt so powerfully in last week’s ballet duo sank like a three-day-old helium balloon throughout the show. But while Neptune’s Broadway number was arguably the best of Team Street’s Bottom 3, I couldn’t shake my loyalty to Lily, and thus Tweeted as follows:
Well, I guess this early in the season, one out of two ain’t bad.
Saved by the Judges
Routines (Ranked Worst to Best)
7. Derek and Ariana (Jazz — Ray Leeper, choreographer) | It wasn’t exactly a Barack-Obama-takes-the-stage-with-Sarah-Palin level of disconnect, but seeing how we were promised a routine about the shared “pain of losing a loved one,” it might have been nice had Derek and Ariana at least looked at each other a couple times. (Good critique, Paula!) Granted, it’s never easy to get excited by mime-style costumes and literal painted-on tears, but despite the judges’ praise of the duo’s movement, I thought they both looked a little labored as the routine wore on.
6. Lily, Gaby, Burim and Edson (Bollywood — Nakul Dev Mahajan, choreographer) | I always feel for the kids who land the Bollywood numbers, mostly because Nakul never deems it necessary to give his routines an emotional backstory (and backstory often translates into votes). (Has dude never watched Devdas, I wonder?) Anyhow, I wish Nigel or Paula had at least credited Edson for vastly superior crispness and extension compared to the wobbly Burim — but neither of the ladies (both faves of mine going into the week) fully nailed the combination of speed and lightness that’s the backbone of the style.
5. Yorelis, Hailee and Darion (Salsa — Oksana & Jonathan, choreographers) | I didn’t disagree with the judges’ assessment that Darion got outshimmied, outsexed and upstaged by the limber Yorelis and the hard-charging Hailee, but in his defense, he was stuck in an anchor position without a lot of opportunities to let loose and join in the fun (though that’s no excuse for nearly dropping Hailee). Of the two women, I actually thought Yorelis brought more heat and hip action to the number, but since she’s not a direct competitor of Hailee’s — them being on different teams and all — I suppose it doesn’t matter much, especially since Hailee delivers so much facial intensity that she’s a winner in her own right, too.
4. Neptune, Asaf and Kate (Broadway — Spencer Liff, choreographer) | Raise your hand if you wish that Asaf’s whiny attitude had earned him an automatic DQ (and the return of Standing Ovation)! Anyhow, dude definitely got left in the dust by fellow Team Street-er Neptune, whose bones practically turned to brass as he channeled a horn in this peculiar but intriguing routine. Kate shone, too, with the elegant breeziness of a classic film star — but I’m worried Nigel’s criticism that her “cool” comes off as a lack of performance ability might land her in the Bottom 3.
3. Marissa, Moises and JJ (Jazz — Ray Leeper, choreographer) | I don’t know why certain SYTYCD contestants get slapped with negative labels even in the positive critiques refuting ’em. “Who says you’re not strong, Moises? All season we’ve said you’re not strong — but you are! We were so worried about your lack of strength, but we didn’t need to be!” Ugh. Give the guy credit for serving impala-esque leaps and bringing enough nasty sexuality to his role of cheating-boyfriend that he held focus even against Marissa’s gleeful punisher. (Girlfriend comes off a little too bubbly offstage, but she’s kind of a beast when the music starts.) Asked to mirror Marissa, poor JJ kinda disappeared like Gwyneth Paltrow’s likability in the GOOP era, and methinks she might find herself at risk next Tuesday.
2. Megz, Alexia and Virgil (Contemporary — Dee Caspary, choreographer) | I let out a full-on howl when Virgil floated over the ladies during that intricate lift, but Megz’s expressive eyes and tricky combination of strength and sensuality proved even more hypnotic — and it has to be said her lines were as clean and pretty as her contemporary counterpart’s. Poor Alexia faded into the background a bit paired with such a vibrant duo, but at least she didn’t stand out in a bad way, I guess?
1. Jim and Jaja (Hip-Hop — Christopher Scott, choreographer) | I’ll get my sole complaint out of the way — I could’ve 20 percent less perma-smile from Jim, but that said, I haven’t seen a dancer loosen up that quickly since the Tin Man got his oil can in The Wizard of Oz. Dude hit every note with convincing hardness, and didn’t miss a single intricacy during the hand-ography portion. Jaja, as the judges noted, brought some beautiful softness to her devastated-woman character, and clued us in that she’ll be far more than a one-krump pony. (It must be said, also, that she was especially good in this week’s group numbers, too, no?)
Team Stage Individual Rankings
Team Street Individual Rankings