Recap: 'So You Think You Can Dance' - Week 3 - Top 16 Performances
One dancer can't bring the sexy to the final 16
Follow HitFix: Follow @hitfix
Wow, I can't think of a worse cross promotion than "The Simpsons" and "So You Think You Can Dance." Maybe "Dexter" and "My Pretty Pony" or maybe "Paula's Home Cooking" and "Celebrity Fit Club," but really, I know Fox needs to get people tuning in during sweeps, but I have this fear of seeing Homer and Marge galoomping across the stage doing a Viennese waltz and it makes me want to throw up a little.
[Full recap of Tuesday (Nov. 10) night's "So You Think You Can Dance" after the break...]
Before we get started, can we talk about what these dancers are wearing in their intro credits? Ryan can't even be bothered to button his shirt, Pauline is wearing a shiny tube top which makes her look even more flat-chested than she already is and Ashleigh is wearing a pinata for pants. It's like a homeless person dance troupe, and it makes me question whether or not these people bathe regularly. Can't someone take these kids shopping? Jeez!
Anyway, on to the show! Nigel, Mary and Adam are all here, and Cat has borrowed Carrie Ann Inaba's hair for the vening, but that's okay. "Dancing with the Stars," "SYTYCD," easy to get confused. At least she isn't wearing one of her sequined minidresses that look like drag queen tablecloths this evening, so I'm not complaining.
The cast of season five of "SYTYCD" is here and for very good reason, because Nigel needs to make a gratuitous plug. The dancers are going to be hoofing it in the Dizzy Feet Foundation event Nov. 29 at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood. I'm sure this is very, very interesting for the small percentage of the audience that lives in L.A. and pure torture for anyone who doesn't live here, so I won't compound to problem by repeating any of it.
Karen and Kevin
Choreographer: Maria Torres
Style: the Hustle
Verdict: Has some muscle
Usually you can zone out during the "get to know your somewhat personality-free dancers" segment, but not this week. It's "dancers reveal a secret about themselves" week, and has Karen got a good one, damn. See, Karen auditioned for the show with her husband. Her husband got eliminated in Vegas. Now, she and said husband are getting divorced. Kevin said some stuff about traveling to China, but I wasn't paying attention. Karen totally has a career in Hollywood because she prattles some PR-savvy crap about growing apart, but you know he was totally jealous of her and felt emasculated and/or she realized she could get a guy who doesn't have to work at Subway to pay the rent, and there goes young love. Oh, if only "SYTYCD" were always this soapy!
Anyway, the routine is the Hustle, which is always good fun, even if I kind of dread having to see a hip-hopper struggle through the steps. Surprisingly, Kevin does a very nice jette and the beginning of the routine is saucy good fun, but once the true hustle starts he often looks wooden. Of course, that could just be because Karen is dancing the pants off of him. And, you know, he drops her at the end, so that kind of takes the shine off.
Adam thought they made it work for them. He thought Kevin emerged for the first time tonight, and he loved Karen's quiet fire. Mary thought Karen was amazing and says she's a hustle queen. Mary was impressed with Kevin's attitude and thought it made up for some awkward poses. I think the judges were really, really generous. I don't think they should give too many points to dancers just because they're outside of their comfort zone, but maybe they're hoping to get nice gifts from Santa for Christmas.
Oh, a hideous Simpsons T-shirt! Did you catch it? Fingers crossed this is the first and last Simpsons plug we'll see on the show.
Ashleigh and Jakob
Choreographer: Mandy Moore
Verdict: Cane, conquered
Sigh, no big drama here. Ashleigh is a poli sci nerd. Jakob is totally best friends with Jeanine, the winner of Season 5. And he's a crazy person. Yes, yes, I can tell. That flat, monotone voice and blank expression, always what you see in a rabid party animal.
I am so giving this routine extra points for being set to Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Relax! Don't do it! And I love that they used the clean radio version so as not to upset the sensibilities of family viewers. But I don't even need to reserve extra points for song awesomeness, because this routine is gooooood. Jakob and Ashleigh are fierce and glamorous and somehow manage to work with a freakin' cane. They're like the Avengers, all slick and dangerous and somehow very 1960s British despite the 1980s soundtrack.
Adam says Ashleigh belongs on the show. Adam loves that Jakob has no spine, which is usually an insult but he just means he's super flexible. Mary thinks they're phenomenal and loves that Ashleigh has been stepping up to the plate each week. She thinks Jakob can do anything. But no hot tamale train! Nigel thinks they work as a unit. He thinks Jakob is very Joel Grey. I think Jakob is surprisingly macho in this routine, though I won't go so far as to agree that he's a crazy person. That's just... well, crazy.
Pauline and Peter
Choreographers: JT & Tomas
Style: quick step
Verdict: Quick and dead
More boring secrets. Peter volunteers with special needs people. Pauline eats like a pig. Wow, what a couple. Yawn. The routine is the quick step, which usually kills couples since it never looks like much of anything, but JT & Tomas are determined to shoehorn a story into this quick step. Unfortunately, it's one of those stories like "Song of the South" or "Birth of a Nation" that we kind of needed to stop telling about forty years ago. Hey, I know everyone loves "South Pacific" and everything, but the theme of this routine just makes me uncomfortable. And that's all I'm going to say about it.
Other than that, the dancing is all good fun and cute hula girl humor but as far as Pauline and Peter's mastery of the steps, not so hot. Whenever the actual quick step starts, I just want them to get back to the hulu to flush the image of dancing bears out of my head.
Adam thinks it was an adorable routine and that it made great use of Pauline's ethnicity. I say racist, he says adorable, tomato, tomahto. Then, he tells Mary she has to critique the technical aspects of the routine and throws her under the bus. Amazingly, she says they pulled it off. The performance was amazing, except for the clunking across the stage and a total lack of connection. But otherwise, just great. Nigel says technically it wasn't good, but he didn't care, because it was a good performance. I say I'd rather forget about this whole routine for many, many reasons.
Kathryn and Legacy
Choreographer: Andy Blankenbuehler
Verdict: Off Broadway
Two more dancers reveal sweet and/or adorable "secrets" about themselves to win fan votes. Kathryn feels most alive when she's helping people. Legacy loves soccer. I hope their routine is more interesting than this.
This seems like a pretty straight forward dance, but it doesn't deliver the goods. Legacy has plenty of energy and charisma, which makes up for some sloppy form, and it's shocking to realize he's a b-boy dancer since, even with his many mistakes and weird arms, he's still pretty good. Kathyrn, on the other hand, is sort of a glassy-eyed blank slate with great form. She'd be perfect for "Mannequin: The Musical." And you know someone's going to do that someday soon, anyway.
Adam says he isn't sure what Kathryn's character was. He thinks Legacy is dancing like a long person, and long is good. Mary felt it was missing chemistry, but she sees Legacy in the top ten. Nigel was disappointed in Kathryn and felt her movement was childish. On the other hand, he thought Legacy was a wonderful sausage or something like that. The short version of events is everyone thought Legacy did pretty well but Kathryn sucked and hard.
Channing and Victor
Choreographer: Stacey Tookey
Verdict: Almost there
Well, two more not-very-interesting secrets, but better than most. Victor used to be a Goth. Channing used to race lawnmowers. Wouldn't it be cool if one of the dancers confessed to something really interesting, like a heroin addiction or gang affiliation? Now, that would pep things up!
Channing and Victor are two contemporary dancers with a contemporary routine, so these guys better deliver. And they do. It's a beautiful routine. But I don't know, it doesn't move me the way I expect it to. But this dance blows Kathryn and Legacy's out of the water, at least.
Adam says they're a good pairing and it had emotion and sensitivity. Mary thinks it was beautiful and it worked for her. Nigel says he wasn't emotionally carried away and thinks Stacey gave them a difficult routine, but he was expecting more. Nigel says something about the two of them needing more time to learn to hate one another to give the routine emotional depth, which makes me hope they both make it through next week, because I'm sure the former Goth and the lawnmower rider will find plenty to bicker about given the time.
Ellenore and Ryan
Choreographer: Lil C
Style: hip hop
Verdict: Hip flop
More random crap. Ellenore is six different ethnicities: Mexican, African-American, Italian, American Indian, Hawaiian and Philippino, ergo, a mutt. Ryan would like to be a superhero. They are both super, super nice. Yay.
I hate to say it, but this looks like a bad aerobics routine. Imagine hip hop, then take out all of the passion and the contained rage and sharp, propulsive movements and give it to a 60-year-old Jazzercise instructor, and you'll get this. Ellenore and Ryan are about as ghetto as the Brady Bunch. This is honestly painful to watch.
Adam says Ryan is the most transformed dancer of the night, so even though it sucked, he gets props for trying. Mary said it wasn't great, but it was good. Nigel didn't think either of them rose to the occasion, and thinks Ellenore is too sweet for hip-hop. I am shocked at how nice they're being, but I think it's because Ellenore and Ryan seem so nice they can't grind them into the pavement the way they want to. That, and they want nice gifts from Santa this year.
Mollee and Nathan
Choreographer: Gustavo Vargas
Verdict: So not hot
Mollee is deaf in her left ear. Nathan likes to jet ski. In less than thirty seconds, Mollee somehow manages to irritate the crap out of me with that infernal giggling. Mollee needs to bring the sexy to the salsa. Mollee can't even bring the sexy if she borrows it from someone, puts it in a jar and lobs it onto the stage. This is going to suck.
And.... it does, indeed, suck! Mollee flubs so many moves I start to wonder if her character is supposed to be an electroshock patient. Both Mollee and Nathan look like they're at a high school dance, but it's not even clear they're dancing with one another. You can practically see the gears grinding in Mollee's head: "Act sexy. Move your arms. Crap, you're out of synch! Wait, act sexy! Wiggle! Tee hee, I said wiggle! Wait, what was I doing?" If I thought Ellenore and Ryan sucked at hip-hop, well, Mollee and Nathan hit a brand new low for the evening.
Adam says it was a number that exposed all their weaknesses. Mary didn't think it was sexified but French fried, which doesn't make sense but is sorta funny. She thinks the side by side work was out of synch but the feel and style of the dance was off and Mollee looked uncomfortable in her high heels. Nigel thinks they didn't feel each other, missed connections, it didn't work for them and there was no chemistry. So, the judges finally got a routine that was so bad they stopped caring about playing nice. Which is, really, a good thing if you ask me.
Noelle and Russell
Choreographer: Sean Cheesman
Verdict: Jazzy goodness
Noelle has four siblings. Wow, this is a HUGE secret! Oh, wait, her brother had a stroke, that's sad. And it is kind of nice that he's her inspiration. Okay, now I feel bad for slamming Noelle. Russell says he's an artist, but to me, his work looks like graffiti, which I guess is an art form until it's on the side of your garage, and then it's a pain in your ass.
Neither Noelle nor Russell know what Afro-jazz is, but they do know they're supposed to be a frog and an African princess. I just have no idea what to expect, but Noelle pretty much sucked last week, so fingers crossed she gets it together this week.
Amazingly, Noelle and Russell look like they're having a good time during this dance. And considering it's a big, crazy, super fast number that involves running all over the stage, that's a good thing. And yay, Noelle doesn't suck this week. I'm not sure Afro-jazz is her calling or anything, but she doesn't look wooden or miserable, and that's half of it. Russell seems to be having fun as a frog, too. Generally, just a fun routine.
Adam thought it had an enormous amount of joy and character. Mary thought it was crazy good. She was shocked at how dynamic and powerful both of them were. And she's going to... put Russell on the hot tamale train! Nigel enjoyed his first Afro-jazz experience. He thought Russell is exceeding expectations and thought Noelle did a really great job.
Now, let's end on a downer note. Cat asks the judges who they think is in danger. Nigel says Ryan and Ellenore, Mary thinks Nathan and Mollee should be worried and Adam agrees with her, though he notes that Nathan and Mollee are fan favorites and that could save them. To which I say, stupid fans, send Mollee home! If for no other reason, to stop the giggling! Just think, if she comes back they may give her another sexy dance! Oh, the humanity!
So, who do you think should go home? Who had the best secret? And how much does Mollee's giggle bug you?