One way or another, we all have a strong opinion about Michael Jackson, but I don’t think anyone can deny his impact on music and dance. The late King of Pop was more than just a controversial pop culture icon; he was one of the most talented, unique dancers of our time. This week, the So You Think You Can Dance top eight – along with the All-Stars – pay homage to Michael Jackson in an MJ-only themed set of routines. This would be more interesting if more people had picked, you know, some good Michael Jackson songs. It’s not like there aren’t enough to choose from! I found myself scratching my head, wondering why so many choreographers made such somber, obscure choices. But the songs weren’t nearly as surprising as our bottom two. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The dancers begin with a group routine choreographed by Travis Payne, who worked with Michael Jackson on This Is It. It’s not my favorite routine, but it must’ve been pretty exciting to work with him.
Cat Deeley (who is looking more lovely than ever) is doing that thing where she doesn’t tell a dancer if they’re safe until after they’ve performed. That means, we go straight into the night’s performances. First up is Ricky, who is paired this week with Jaimie Goodwin. I totally didn’t remember Jaimie, but then I realized that she was Hok’s partner in season three. They did the hummingbird dance! Ricky and Jaimie are dancing to “Smile” (boring song!) in a routine by Travis Wall. I know it’s big news, but this dance is lovely and Ricky is lovely and the judges love it and then Cat announces that Ricky is safe. “WHAAAAAT!??!??!” says no one at all. Moving on, it’s time for Valerie and All-Star Ryan Di Lello to tackle a Jean-Marc Genereux samba. Thankfully, it’s to “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'” (great song!) and not like, “Man In The Mirror.” I really enjoy this routine! The choreography has a little African jazz in it (I think?) and it’s really fun. As for the dancers, Valerie does a good job, but maybe the judges are a little too complimentary? Also, she has some hair extensions and everyone acts like she’s Sandy at the end of Grease. Calm down, judges. Valerie is safe, by the way.
Up next is Casey, paired with All-Star Comfort. They’re doing a Pharside and Phoenix hip hop routine to “Xscape” (who?) and I have to say, this is not a good one for Casey. The dance focuses heavily on Comfort, which may not be a bad thing, since Casey’s not so hot at the hip hop. I can barely take my eyes off Comfort from start to finish – she’s just so much better than him. Overall, this isn’t my favorite. Not sure it was Casey’s best performance, but the dance didn’t really give him a chance to shine, either. Added complaint: I’m not a fan of the spider web as a prop. After the performance, Cat announces that Casey is the first male in the bottom. Poor Casey.
After that, it’s Tanisha’s turn to dance with All-Star and season one winner, Nick Lazzarini. Oh my God, I love me some Nick Lazzarini, you guys. I mean, good lord, watching him dance. He’s just so, so incredible! I am a Nick Lazzarini fangirl all the way. They dance a Stacey Tookey contemporary routine to Michael Jackson’s “She’s Out Of My Life” (boring song!) and Tanisha was there, probably, but I was just watching Nick. You know, I’ll bet if you measured Tanisha’s leg extension from one end, to the end of Nick’s leg extension on the other side, it’d be the length of a football field. Shockingly, Tanisha is in the bottom. Unexpected!
Man, it’s just one of those nights where I forget all about the contestants, isn’t it? Up next is Rudy and All-Star Allison Holker, whom I adore. They’re doing a Ray Leeper jazz routine to “Dirty Diana” (great song!) and Rudy does pretty well. The role – an obsessive love – could have easily sent him into crazyland, but he’s controlled and well-balanced. Unfortunately, this week isn’t what counts and Cat surprises me again by announcing that he’s the second male in the bottom. Very unexpected!
Thankfully for Zack, he now knows that he’s safe and can dance without worry. He’s paired up with All-Star Makenzie Dustman (season 10) for a Spencer Liff Broadway routine to “The Way You Make Me Feel” (great song!). In another life, one without Ricky Ubeda, I feel like Zack could’ve won this entire competition. He’s not otherworldly, but he’s so damn charming and the way he dances just makes me smile. This routine is a hit with the judges and I loved it as well.
Following Zack is the other half of Zacque: Jacque and her All-Star partner tWitch. They’re given a Dave Scott hip hop routine to Michael Jackson’s “Slave to the Rhythm” (boring song!) and I have to admit, I watched this twice. The first time, I ignored Jacque and watched tWitch because, duh. It’s tWitch! The second time I watched, I focused on Jacque…and it wasn’t quite as enjoyable. The judges, again, are maybe a little too enthusiastic in their compliments. She definitely looks like a ballerina trying to appear “street” to me, even though the judges think she nailed it. Um, no. Cat brings it back to reality, though, by announcing that Jacque is in the bottom.
The last dance of the evening is from Jessica and All-Star Will Wingfield (season four) who I forgot about and now I remember that I love him! They’re performing a Mandy Moore contemporary number to “Earth Song” (boring song!) and damn, it’s great. Jessica, when she has the right partner, really takes your breath away. The performance is powerful and passionate. Will ain’t so bad, either. The judges go wild – and Nigel finally admits how stupid he was for making Jessica dance for her life in callbacks.
As I said above, the night’s results are shocking, so you’ve probably already guessed that Rudy and Tanisha go home. It’s pretty surprising to me – especially since both Casey and Jacque have been in the bottom before – and even though I know it was time for him to leave, it’s still hard to see Rudy’s little face crumple into tears.