so you think you can dance recap

SYTYCD Recap: Four Score

If So You Think You Can Dance is lucky enough to be renewed for Season 13, I nominate Vanna White to replace Jason Derulo at the judges’ table.

It makes sense, yo! After all, what more does Pervy McBlankeyes do each week than follow fellow panelists Paula Abdul and Nigel Lythgoe in revealing coded messages — consonant by vowel by consonant by vowel — telling the audience which contestants will be sent to the guillotine (and which ones have been tabbed as the Chosen Ones) by episode’s end?

Indeed, when Jason describes a dancer’s work using a succession of positive adjectives — but with less passion than a Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru worker who’s definitely going to give you heavy cream instead of milk in your iced hazelnut coffee —  you can rest assured he or she is bound for the same scrap heap where the Hot Tamale Train’s feathers and sequins are currently turning to mold and rust.

All that is my roundabout way of wishing that maybe — just for a night? — the week’s lowest vote-getters might not get saddled with routines that are clearly designed to highlight their weaknesses (usually paired with costumes that look like they were fashioned from your aged auntie’s couch cushions or something untoward discovered behind the dryer at your local laundromat).

OK, enough ranting and raving from the nation’s crankiest SYTYCD recapper! Let’s get to the dark business of breaking down the week’s results — then ranking the routines and remaining dancers, shall we? (Bear in mind I’ll be back in an hour or so to flesh out this URL with more detailed performance reviews, so do come back tonight or during your first moment of Tuesday work-induced ennui!)

Routines (Ranked Worst to Best)
9. Gaby and Jim (Josh Bergasse, Broadway) | SYTYCD likes to play up the idea that the waltz is the dance that’s least likely to get votes. I’d argue, however, that Broadway numbers — especially when they lack compelling story and/or difficult choreography — are even less likely to make viewers sort out theseemingly 274 voting methods available to fans of the show. As Gaby dove into a hokey concept of a feverish woman gliding about with her mystery man, the couple’s body language and eye contact remained as elusive as a real-life human working at a Macy’s cash register when all you want to do is pick up a couple of polo shirts and get back home.

8. Virgil and All-Star Melanie (Justin Giles, Contemporary) | Ummm… how exactly did this ho-hum routine rate a standing O from the judges. Look, Melanie may be one of the greatest winners in SYTYCD history — and it’s always a pleasure to watch her. But how come none of the judges pointed out that Justin’s choreography left Virgil without a significant or challenging move through the opening third of the number? And did anyone else notice the way Virgil cut certain movements short as Melanie extended through them? Granted, I was moved by the footage of Virgil and Street Team captain Twitch getting teary-eyed over the “soldier home from war” concept, but the emotion failed to spill over once the routine got underway.

7. Jim and All-Star Anya (Dmitry Chaplin, Samba) | I resented how the pre-performance package portrayed Jim as a guy who might not have enough confidence to shake his thing on national TV. (Yes, because what could be more crippling than unveiling a torso with zero percent body fat.) The subtext, of course, though, was that Jim’s general demeanor wasn’t nasty-masculine enough to contend with a sexual freight train like Anya. But I’d contend that while there were some technique issues at play, Jim brought a more raw, more erotic vibe to the stage than he has the last six weeks combined. Jason may have disagreed, but the way he mispronounced “bachata,” was anyone really listening?

6. Jaja and Virgil (Phoenix and Pharside, Hip-Hop) | Is there some unstated Season 12 rule that 19 out of 20 hip-hop routines can only be fun, rowdy or spirited — but not emotional, gripping or complicated? It’s a thought that crossed my mind as I wondered why I wasn’t 100 percent elated watching Jaja and Virgil tackle their own style. Thinking about it more deeply, though, I’m not sure either dancer pushed past the Halloween costume qualities of their Alice in Wonderland/Cheshire Cat costumes and brought to life the wonderment of another world. Which isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy it — I just won’t be going down the rabbit hole again with a DVR rewind.

5. Megz and All-Star Joshua (Christopher Scott, Hip-Hop) | The judges gave Megz really lukewarm feedback, but I thought she and Joshua did a fine job of expressing an almost religious fervor with every tic and twirl of their bodies. Paula was right that the pair fed off each other’s energy — their level of eye contact matched or surpassed every other routine this week — but I’m not going to pretend the A+ song choice didn’t increase my excitement by half, either.

4. Gaby and All-Star Marko (Ray Leeper, Jazz) | Ray declared in the intro package that he wanted to put on a piece with “no story” — which is kind of like hanging an abstract painting in a museum without the little paragraph of context helping tourists grasp its meaning. (In other words, I respect the choreographer’s stance, without being sure that he did Gaby any favors.) To my eyes, Gaby and Marko brought to life a “Ye Olde West Brothel Courtship” — one that was cheeky in spirit with a wider stance than Larry Craig in a men’s room stall. I dug the flirty sexuality of it all — and the dazzling speed, too. But with this week’s votes carrying into the final decision, I’m betting Gaby wished she had something more emotionally gripping to tackle.

3. Hailee and All-Star Robert (Nick and RJ, Jazz) | Robert ranks right alongside Alex (and Jasmine and Kayla and Melanie and hopefully Aaron) on my shortlist of favorite all-stars, and I liked how he brought out a more adult vibe from the ever-improving Hailee in the course of their “angel of death and her victim” number. That move where Hailee went from laying parallel atop Robert to somehow lifting her legs upward and into a floating and glorious position was a true DVR-rewind moment, and the end-of-number smooch was as hot as anything the Season 12 stage has seen thus far.

2. Jaja and All-Star Alex (Tessandra Chavez, Contemporary) | I’ll admit I inadvertently cringed at Tessandra’s explanation that her piece was about a couple in which the wife struggles with early-onset Alzheimer’s while he husband desperately tries to make her remember him — only because it felt she’d set up a scenario so emotional that the judges would’ve seemed ghoulish had they not praised it. The good news, though, is that both dancers brought as much acting ability to the piece as they did modern-dance technique. Alex — whose matinee-idol looks and evocative expressions make me wonder why he’s not already a summer blockbuster staple — managed to be romantic, frustrated and scared all at once, and while a few of Jaja’s extensions failed to match his stratospheric levels, she sold the piece with her face: Giddy, befuddled, terrified and joyous — sometimes all at once.

1. Hailee and Megz (Stacey Tookey, Contemporary) | It certainly didn’t hurt that Hailee and Megz got by far the best costuming and music of the entire episode, but the under-dog chicas also forged a fast and deeply intimate bond in a routine about sisters being forced to say their final goodbyes. Somehow, Ms. Tookey managed to meld Hailee’s grace and Megz’s strength into a seamless vision — upgrading both of their performances in the process. As Megz staggered away, Hailee’s end-of-performance collapse resonated more devastatingly than a dozen tricks combined. Could it make her a legit contender for the Season 12 crown? Perhaps — as long as she doesn’t draw Russian Folk Dance from Uncle Nigel’s hat next week.

Eliminated (based on last week’s votes)

Final Four (ranked at this moment by yours truly)
4. Virgil
3. Gaby (I think she will — and maybe should — win, but girl got saddled with some uninspired routines this week, no?)
2. Hailee
1. Jaja

And now it’s your turn. What did you think of Season 10 Top 6 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. LADY_in_MD says:

    I just can’t get on board with Phoenix and Pharside with the exception with one or two of their routines they just don’t live up to what I think they could be I don’t think it’s the dancers as much as its their chreography

    I’m really happy with the top 4 I would be happy if anyone of them winning but hoping for JaJa to take it all!

    • JM says:

      Lady, I so agree with you about Phoenix and Pharside. I have never liked their choreo, but tonight was exceptionally bad. Especially when they had two extremely gifted dancers to work with.

      • LADY_in_MD says:

        I feel bad for JaJa and Virgil that was not the best routine to end on and that’s what people are going to remember when they vote

        • Florence+TheMachineRules!!! :) #MariahSlays says:

          It wasn’t their best however baby and haliee seemingly had a rougher night then them, and jaja nailed all 3 of her performances, and she is literally number 1 this week for ever article and poll I pasded by, so she might be fine along with virgil

    • Olivia says:

      I was very disappointed in the Phoenix/ Pharcyde routine. Jaja and Virgil in a hip hop number? They should have been given so much more. With another choreographer, they would have killed it. Where is Nappy Tabs? They create amazing routines. I love Megz and was sad to see her go, but understand it is her time. I’m hoping for Virgil or Hailee to win.

      • LADY_in_MD says:

        I wonder since nappy tabs was doing ABDC at the same time that it limited how much time they could spend with SYTYCD

      • S. from A, says:

        Just imagine Jaja and Virgil in the “After Show”-routine that Amy and Fik-Shun did in Season 10. They would have aced that! With this routine today they could have told us any background story and it wouldn’t have made any difference. Gosh, I miss Nappy Tabs. )=

    • Shilla says:

      very good

  2. JM says:

    Hmm…I would’ve ranked Dmitri’s Samba routine at least 4th, but then I’m partial to Dmitry’s choreography. Plus, I really thought Jim sold his sexiness in the routine. (Too late, unfortunately for him). However, I definitely agree with your best dance of the night. I LOVED Stacey’s Sister Dance, and the two women performed beautifully. So glad Hailee made it–I (and apparently Hailee herself) was surprised. Still think it’s Gaby or Jaja’s to lose though.

    • I agree with JM as usual. I loved the Samba maybe because I love Anya and Jim finally connected with a partner no one could ignore. And loved the sister dance too. Still think Gaby might pull it off. She is so versatile.

      • PIMB says:

        Jim ws Jypped. He is a gorgeous dancer. He danced completely out of his style and carriage all season. I liked the dance.

        • Mona Cattanach says:

          I liked Jim’s samba too. To me one of the biggest injustices of the season is that the “magic Hat” denied us all a Jim and Alex Wong ballet number. The show had the rare for tv chance to show us the strength and beauty of classical ballet with two amazing dancers. I can only imagine the routine that would have resulted. Yet producers chose to bypass the chance in order to force a departing dancer into a routine that would show them as “less than” they can be. A decision like that is tough to take, especially from a show that claims to want to promote dance in all forms!

          • Python says:

            Yes I agree 1000% and am suspicious of this hat that seems to favor certain frontrunners, the same hat that spat out that burlesque jazz mess before the top 10. So sad there was never Ballet Boys 2.

        • Alan Dvorkis says:

          Agree they were out to get Jim. He was so much more at ease out of style doing the most difficult dance. His solos were by far the most difficult and by far the best, yet the judges and others found fault in him no matter what he would do when others had holes in their games much bigger and nothing was said. I hate when judges attempt to manipulate results. Jim was the victim of that . Luckily for him, he is insanely talented and should have a future in a field he obviously loves.

  3. Logan says:

    I am estatic that Jim went home. Hailee thought she was going home and she was so shocked she made it (so was I even though I really wanted her to make it).

    Gaby got the bad picks tonight :/ Win some, lose some I guess. At least it happened tonight when these votes work with the votes from next week, so out of all the times to do it, now was the time to do it.

    Hailee and Virgil will fight for 3rd next week because its highly unlikely Jaja or Gaby will be knocked out of 1 or 2. This is the “battle of the Hunger Games” as it were. Since top 10, I wanted to see Jaja and Gaby duke it out to win, and now its likely to happen. Both deserve it, but im definitely leaning towards Gaby. We will see next week as (if I am not mistaken), everyone will dance one dance with each remaining contestant. That will be interesting to see.

  4. Stefanie says:

    Team Hailja for F2! I really want one of them to win over Gaby.

  5. Mytake says:

    I can’t believe they gave Virgil such rave reviews over his dance with Melanie. He seems to be a great person and up until tonight I have enjoyed his dancing. But his routine tonight was like watching “Dancing with the Stars”. By that I mean on that show the non professional initially gets the very simplistic moves while 85%+ of the dance is comprised of the pro doing the tough and complicated dancing. If you watch Virgil’s dance back you’ll see that he actually does very little dancing. He walks and turns and holds Melanie but at this stage of the competition, his part of the routine was extremely lacking. It wasn’t even up to week one standards. Perhaps that was because the choreographer just didn’t bother to give him any challenging moves or maybe he did and Virgil couldn’t do them so the complicated stuff was removed. Regardless, if you can peel your eyes off the amazing Melanie, I think it’s obvious the judges were crazy to give him a standing ovation and the heaps of wonderful comments. Tonight, Virgil sadly didn’t deserve either.

    • Justin says:

      This is how I feel about Jaja every week. And then i don’t understand why people bash the dancers that are actually getting advanced stuff and doing great at it. Again why it’s Americas favorite not Americas best dancer

      • James says:

        It used to be America’s best dancer. Somewhere along the way the word best became favorite when they realized American’s don’t know anything about dance and only vote for people’s personalities.

    • PIMB says:

      I didn’t see much dancing on his part. I like him a lot but I think he should have gone and jim should have stayed.

    • Mona Cattanach says:

      I totally agree, Melanie always pulls my focus, but especially when her partner has so little to do.

    • JS says:

      Agree! The judges seemed to be fishing for votes for Virgil. I was actually hoping for the 4 girls to go through, Megz is overall more interesting to me. Amazing sisters dance and also really enjoyed the opening number.

  6. Jim isn’t top 4. My mind can’t grasp that one. Jaja had better own this.
    I fully agree with ditching Derulo. At this point, if they don’t get picked up for season 13, i will blame him entirely. Useless. I found myself daydreaming about Paula & Debbie Allen on a panel together. It was positive and encouraging and wonderful. If only.

  7. Mytake says:

    This season both the judges AND more significantly the choreographers leave a lot to be desired. Once in a while any of them choreo a good number but as the saying goes, even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and then. Compare that to people like Sonja or Mia or Mandy Moore who came up with amazing routines almost every single time. I seldom like Ray Leper or phoenix and Pharsides routines nor any of the new choreographers. This whole season has been a disappointment to me really :(. There hasn’t been one single routine that I’ve loved so much that I rewind to watch it a second time. Past seasons, this far along, there were always several I’d watch 2 or 3 times they were so good.

    • ChrissieK says:

      For the first time on SYTYCD we’ve got the B team of choreographers. I have a feeling the budget for our show was around 5 bucks…a lot of pizazz is gone and I don’t even think Nigel’s heart has been in it so much. Jason, Jason, Jason, you a good judge does not make. It was really hard letting any of them go last night, difficult to watch the tears. I think we need to enjoy this show as much as we can now for I just feel it won’t be back and that breaks my heart.

  8. jkk says:

    the entire judging panel is a very sad compliment of panelists. Sad . and definitely missing the spice of veteran judges Mary Murphy … Adam Shankman ..tyce de Orio. or even the likes of Christina Applegate or Jesse Ferguson ….. please for the love of dance …..bring in the judges who actually can offer substance

    • Really? I think Paula gives excellent comments and constructive criticism – so much better than she ever did on American Idol. Other than that, let’s just say I really miss guest judges. Really.

      • I agree. Paula rocks this year. She’s a sweet, smart woman and knows dance

      • luli101 says:

        I can deal with Paula, even though I miss Mary. I just cannot deal with Jason. I hit the forward button every time I even suspect he is going to open his mouth. What a waste of a third chair! And just listening to Tessandra Chavez saying, “I’m not going to dumb down the choreography,” for Jaja just reaffirmed what we have known all season–that they have been dumbing down the choreography. I love the street dancers, but alot of them had so much less technical training the choreographers had to change for them. In the past, there have been just a few in the mix and you knew the choreographers were altering things to compensate, but this year there were more without as much technical training.

  9. crica says:

    I love SYTYCD but I don’t really like this season. The dancers were not challenged at all. To me everything was very lame… I hope they will return next season with the previous layout b/c this one wasn’t good. But hey, that’s my opinion.

    • cyn says:

      I beg to differ. Jaja is a krumper. She’s challenged every week. Thank goodness she took the time to take some classes after failing the choreography last season.

  10. I can’t understand how you ranked Jaja’s contemporary second. In my opinion, it was the best routine all season.

  11. Evan says:

    JaJa’s Solo…..FIRE!!!!

  12. Megz solo was wonderful down to the outfit and Jim’s was exquisite. However their time was up. I didn’t feel that way about some others who left earlier. I agree that this season does not live up to the past numbers thought there are a few to be added to the roster of sensational dancing. Great to see Anya. She really helped Jim express the feeling of the dance. As the Rolling Stones said. “You’d make a dead man……” Hailee is catching up but I still think it’s Gabby’s or Ja Ja’s to lose

  13. Shilla says:

    my Aunty Sydney recently got red Ford Mustang Convertible by work part-time using a lap-top… Look At This

  14. Rafael says:

    I think this is a good time for Mary Murphy to return for this show’s Seasons 13 and 14 and replace Jason Derulo instead. Paula Abdul will be given another chance for the next two seasons.

    I knew Virgil is going to be the only guy contestant going to make it to the Top 4.

    Gaby Diaz’s real name should be “Gabriella Diaz”.

  15. vanvon says:

    This season keeps getting worse and worse – Nigel might as well admit that this year’s contest is being rigged for a “street” dancer to win by undermining the “stage” dancers with the worst routines. they have treated dancers like Jim as second-class citizens while foaming at the mouth over dancers such as Virgil. Even if this series returns next season, I may not watch – UNLESS it returns to its old format or at least one that isn’t this absurd street vs. stage silliness. I am tired of seeing dancers who have trained and worked for years dismissed just so Nigel can look all hip by selecting a “street” dancer as the winner.

    • DF says:

      I agree. Not just a Street Dancer…Jaja. He wanted a female street dancer and picked Jaja on the green mile. Although quite talented in her style, I don’t see the draw as every dance looks animated and quite simplistic. Never a negative critique and there was room for quite a few comments. Her acting is pulling her farther than her dancing.

      • HBenji says:

        I completely agree. When you watch the stage dancers in any type of genre of dance they are so much better than ANY of the street dancers.

    • Sav says:

      I agree, they are dumbing down the show for the street dancers. Go back to the old format & make this a dance competition. Also, bring back Mary & Adam.

    • B☆ says:

      a white girl that goes hard like a black man, really plays to our fantasies

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  17. PFitzDC says:

    Michael dear: Can we get tweak in the poll, as the wording is a little? Who you WANT to win and Who you think WILL win? (Or maybe we can have BOTH polls?) For the record: I want Hailee to win. But I think JaJa will win.

  18. I am struck by the diversity of the female finalists: Girls—-blonde, brunette, and ravishingly redhead. And Virgil brings color and masculinity. When has that mix ever happened on SYTYCD? And please cut Jason some slack. He may lack formal schooling and is not the most capable of coherent thought but I believe his comments come from his heart. He tries to be constructive. He simply needs experience in articulating his judgment.

  19. Aileen says:

    ONE TIME Gaby gets screwed with crappy choreography (Ray Leeper), crappy costume design and a crappy partner (Jim) and she gets knocked off? What fickle fans we have. Gaby was engaged and gave everything she had in the Fever number but Jim as usual was in his own little world flying across the stage. Who can connect with that??? She worked brilliantly with what she was given. Who the heck puts ruffles all over a costume that is supposed to accentuate the movement of the booty?
    It is too bad that Gaby did not get another crack at Hip Hop. She could take any one of the street dancers hands down. Or ballroom -she has the most beautiful Cuban motion and Samba rolls ever. I’ve seen her several times in competition and in case you didn’t know it, the girl has had exceptional training but also has an uncanny ability to master ANY style of dance that she is challenged with.
    Jaja is great, they’re all great or they wouldn’t be there. But if you pick apart dance by dance and style by style, accounting for technique and performance, she is by far the superior dancer on this season. We have not seen half of what this girl can do.

    • luli101 says:

      Just wanted to agree with you about Gaby’s costume. You could barely see any hip movement because of the ruffles. The costume really hampered the dance, I think.

  20. I am totally disappointed in the “new format” for one of my all time favorite talent shows. They have ruined it…..even the lovely Cat seems different…impressed with herself and phony….and I always thought she was the best host. I hate the stage vs. street format. and the dances are ALL weird………don’t know what happened…….I don’t mind hip hop or crumping or whatever you call it…..but all the dances looked alike no matter what style they called it. I don’t understand why… TV…….the powers that be have to “FIX WHAT AINT BROKE”……..LOVE NIGEL and paula is doing OK, but Jason needs to go.

  21. James says:

    sigh….for the last time this season (because I have no interest in anyone in the finals)
    1) I want Mary Murphy
    2) I want quickstep
    3) stage vs street is stupid and has no meaning

  22. Cheddar cheese says:

    This elusive “hat” that gives jaja all the easiest and most flattering routines, its looking as though she may win though I’d venture to say she has scarcely been challenged as much as Jim. The phoenix and pharcyde was atrocious in every respect.
    Megz solo was the best, and so was her “sisters” routine.

    • Mj says:

      Yes her solo was amazing ,, but jaja dances didn’t do anything for me she gets the same stuff all the time easy stuff cause she can’t do it if you watch the dance and look careful she mess up up in the dance routine she needs to go I don’t understand People see in her

  23. Python says:

    I nominate misty copeland to replace jason.

  24. James says:

    What baffles me the most is that Nigel seems to think that, despite ratings and comments, this is a very successful season and that stage vs street works. I don’t expect a return to the old format or judges IF there is another season.

    Also, am I the only one sick of the judges starting almost every critique with a complement to the choreographer? The choreographer should be invisible, its supposed to be about the contestants. Most of them aren’t even all that good this season.