A few years ago, I was ready to give up on So You Think You Can Dance. Like many competition-based reality shows, it was getting stale. The quality of dancer was declining. I wasn’t getting excited like I used to. And then someone at Fox had a brilliant idea: bring back the best contestants from years past and let them dance with the top 10 as “all stars.” I sincerely hope whoever pitched that at a meeting got a hefty raise, because it really added new life to the show. Now, every summer, I look forward to seeing some of my favorites come back – tWitch, Allison (who just so happens to be Mrs. tWitch now!), Comfort, Kathryn, Brandon…the list goes on. This week, the wait is over. The top ten contestants and All-Stars pair up for some really great routines – plus, my least favorite contestant finally goes home! And if that isn’t enough, we start things off with a kick-ass group number from Jamal Sims. There is so much happening here. As Stefon would say, this dance has everything. Neon! Cowboy hats! Finger guns! Break dancing! Tapping! Nicki Minaj!
This week, the judges are joined by Olympic figure skater Tara Lipinski, who I don’t really know of because I hate the Olympics. Seriously, I do. I’m sorry if that makes me a bad American, but I’m just telling it like it is. I like her as a judge, though, and she gives Cat Deeley a run for her money in the “adorable” category. Speaking of Cat, she will be revealing the bottom four individually, not all at once, so we get right to the dances. First up is Bridget, who’s paired with All-Star Brandon Bryant from season five. Brandon is also known in my book as The One Who Should’ve Won Season Five, Jeanine Are You Kidding Me WTF No. He and Bridget will be doing the first ever “Disco Bollywood” for SYTYCD. At first, it just seems like regular Bollywood to me, but then there are about 40 lifts that prove me wrong. It’s fun, but not as great as it could’ve been. Cat starts things off with bad news, telling Bridget that she’s in the bottom four. After that, Tanisha joins Ryan Di Lello (season six) for an Argentine tango. Guess what? It’s sexy. Guess what else? Tanisha is safe.
The next number has me pretty excited, because Emilio is joining season 10 runner-up Jasmine Harper for a hip-hop routine from Tabitha and Napoleon. Nappytabs! I will admit, I wasn’t always a Nappytabs fan. They have a tendency to do what I like to call “literal dancing,” like if the song lyrics go, “I call you up on the phone,” the dancers mimic picking up a phone and dialing. It drives me bananas. They’ve gotten better at it, over the years, and I’ve grown more complacent. That’s probably why it doesn’t annoy me when they do a song by DJ Snake about snakes, complete with a snake charmer basket to slither out of. The judges are nice about it, but I was watching Jasmine the entire time – and I’m not the only one who forgets about Emilio. Cat announces that he’s in the bottom.
Up next, we finally get to see how Valerie fares without Ricky as a partner. Of course, season five’s Ade Obayomi is nothing to sneeze at. The pair will be dancing a
Tasty Oreo Tyce Diorio jazz routine. The goal here is for Valerie to stop being so nice and get mean. Turns out, Valerie doesn’t know how to be mean. She’s like a cupcake personified. The performance isn’t bad, but it’s kind of boring. Valerie is safe, but I’m afraid that next week, she might not be. After that, we have Rudy paired up with All-Star Jenna Johnson from season 10. Jenna is definitely a more suitable partner for Rudy than Tanisha, because she also looks 12 years old. They perform a cha-cha to a Maroon 5 song, which is just about what you would expect it to be. Rudy screams like, a lot. So much screaming. Even Nigel is like, “Dude, chill. You’re annoying everyone.” Rudy, by the way, is safe.
The next routine is another So You Think You Can Dance first – a contemporary ballet. Choreographed by Travis Wall and performed by Jacque and season nine winner Chehon Wespi-Tschopp, you just know it’s going to be breathtaking. Spoiler alert: it is. I got chills watching this. It was just so beautiful. I hope they continue bringing more ballet into the show, because performances like this are just stunning to watch. Unfortunately, Jacque joins Bridget in the bottom four.
It’s time for Ricky. I’ll bet you didn’t know it beforehand, but Ricky does a great job this week with All-Star and season seven winner Lauren Froderman. The pair perform a Mandy Moore jazz routine and normally, I don’t enjoy Mandy Moore’s jazz – or Lauren Froderman, to be honest – but this whole thing is very enjoyable to watch. Is it Ricky? Maybe. He’s safe, of course, like anyone thought he wouldn’t be. After that, Casey teams up with season six All-Star Kathryn McCormick for a Broadway number. Side note: I l adore Kathryn and I think she was awesome in Step Up: Revolution and yes, I love that movie, you can just be quiet. The dance is nice, but I’m distracted by 1)Kathryn and, 2)Liza Minnelli, so I don’t really pay Casey any mind. He’s safe.
Speaking of safe, so is Jessica, since we already have two girls in the bottom. She pairs up with tWitch, AKA the best performer this show has ever known, for another Nappytabs hip-hop routine. And…okay, here’s the thing. I really like Jessica and I am OBSESSED with tWitch and they are great and the dancing is great, but I just cannot get past the plot to enjoy it. It’s about an old man who keeps getting all hot and bothered by a young girl at the bus stop. tWitch even has grey hair and a gut to play the part of the creepy old man who can’t take no for an answer. That is SO GROSS and it’s all kind of rapey and it ruins the whole thing for me, guys. Ugh, sorry. Luckily, the final routine of the night is beautiful enough to wipe my mind clean. Zack (who is in the bottom, by process of elimination) teams up with season 10 winner Amy Yakima for a Sonya Tayeh contemporary routine. Oh, and it’s so lovely. I mean, this kid is a tapper! HE’S A TAPPER. How on earth is he in the bottom four? It’s just not right.
I have to say, I’m very relieved when Cat finally gives the results: Jacque and Zack (Zacque!) are safe. Bridget and Emilio are going home. I’m bummed for Emilio, especially since he’s the last hip-hop dancer on the season. But I’m not sad to see Bridget go, especially in place of Jacque, who’s so much more unique and talented. What do you think – did the right people go home? Who did you vote for? That whole thing with tWitch and Jessica was disgusting, right?