I think we can all agree that tonight's episode was a Very Special One, not only because supercool Toni Basil and her crazy cat lady hat graced us with their presences, but because the show's first drinking game of the season emerged in the first five minutes. It's simple: chug whenever Cat Deeley says "I hate Thursdays." I guarantee you will be blotto by the half-hour break. It's not that I don't feel her pain, but seriously woman, you're making an assload of money every Thursday. Suck it up.

But enough of that. Let's get to the dancing, because this week, unlike last week, did not even remotely suck for the most part. Game on!

[Recap for Wednesday (June 24) night's "So You Think You Can Dance" after the break...]

 

Jonathan and Karla

Choreographer: Dave Scott, hip hop

Verdict: Bye, bye, bye

Tonight's fun fact seemed to be "what I will do after I blow out a knee and/or get eliminated from this show," which was somewhat disturbing but at least mostly useful in gauging the delusional quotient of our dancers. Karla would be a journalist, Jonathan would be an acrobat, and I'm guessing both of them will be able to explore those exciting new career paths because man, the Boring Twins ate it this week. While last week the judges got all mushy about a routine I thought was pretty lame, tonight I think we could all agree that even a team of hardened convicts (and the liberal usage of pork pie hats) couldn't make these Wonder Bread dullards gangsta. Although Karla wasn't so bad, seriously, I've seen yeshiva students with more street cred than Jonathan. He has a rich future as a Disney theme park performer, but please, get him off the damn "SYTYCD" stage, like, yesterday. 

Nigel got first whack at the critiques tonight, and I have to say, he should take the first at-bat position more often. It's just so nice to hear a balanced, thoughtful critique before Crazy Mary starts shrieking like a rabid hyena. He noted, and rightly, that there was no chemistry or excitement in this routine, which came across as a "Sunday school picnic outing" (good one, Nigel). Mary didn't love it, and Toni said it seemed "store bought" and lacked a ghetto groove. Enough said. Time to pack up and pursue plan B (but FYI Karla, journalism? Have you looked at your local newspaper lately? Maybe consider another option).

 

Asuka and Vitolio

Choreographer: Mandy Moore, jazz

Verdict: Heartbreakers

Fun facts: Asuka would make cheap-looking jewelry, and Vitolio would sing badly in a rock band. So really, thank God they can dance. And how cute are these two? Asuka cries, Vitolio hugs her, everyone melts (and hello, what the hell is wrong with Mandy Moore kicking Asuka when she's down, grumbling "I think you are, too," when Asuka says, "I think I'm slow"? That was just mean, Mandy Moore. Shame on you!). They probably could have flopped around the dance floor like spastic puppets and it wouldn't have mattered after the aw-shucks intro about how much they care about one another, but no, they rocked out to Pat Benetar pretty darn well. Nigel thought they brought it, Mary expected more but still said the routine was good and Toni said they have the potential to develop into an extremely strong couple. So, not great, not hot tamale train material, but good enough to stay out of the bottom three, if you ask me.

And can I just say, can Toni Basil come back every week? Or at least come back any week Lil 'C is scheduled to talk crazy nonsense so she can blow him out of the water? Of all the guest judges, she's my absolute favorite because she knows her stuff. And not just because, hello, she's the "Oh, Mickey" girl. But that helps.

 

Ade and Melissa

Choreographer: Tony Meredith, rumba

Verdict: Smokin' hot

Fun facts: Melissa would teach Pilates and Ade would be a sound engineer, two entirely reasonable jobs I hope they don't go after until they're in their fifties and are crippled by dance-induced osteoarthritis. Seriously, these two just might be my favorites in this competition if only Ade would lose the stupid hair pick. He looks like a member of Fat Albert's gang.

Anyway, our delicate ballerina girl proved that she's really a crazy sexy dancer, and she and Ade undulated and writhed and somehow made a Bee Gees cover sound hot. That's what I call good. Unfortunately, Nigel had to pun us with "what a difference Ade makes," (wuh WUH), but agreed they did a magnificent job. Mary crowed that whatever they were selling, she was buying, and Toni gave the necessary props to Tony Meredith for gorgeous choreography, beautifully executed.

 

Janette and Brandon

Choreographer: Dave Scott, hip hop

Verdict: Can you say top ten?

Fun facts: Salsa hottie Janette wants to be a banker chick, and Brandon wants to do lighting design, surprisingly boring jobs for two of the most high energy dancers in the competition. And who knew Brandon could pop and lock? He was a more believable hip hop dancer than some of the actual hip hop dancers in the competition, which made me think there really may not be a single routine these two can't tackle, except maybe, oh, I don't know, zydeco boot stomp or country line dancing, which no one should do in public anyway.

Nigel joked that the routine was a match-up between "Fiddy and Cher," which just went to show how outdated his cultural references are, but he also praised them for working it and gave Brandon a pat on the head for his hip hop. Mary gushed that their performance was a "huge surprise" and absolutely believable (although really, Brandon could probably do jumping jacks for five minutes and she'd squeal with delight). Toni said they nailed it, and you know what? She was, as usual, dead on. I, of course, will always love these two for disco dancing at the speed of light, but I'm happy they haven't let me down, either. And someone needs to give Janette props for pulling out all the stops while dressed as a 1980's Poison groupie.

 

Kupono and Kayla

Choreographer: Jean-Marc and France Généreux, waltz

Verdict: Pretty, good

Fun facts: Kayla wants to model, Kupono wants to design costumes. Yawn. And, honestly, the waltz was a little snooze-worthy, too, but not because it wasn't gorgeous. But when Nigel admitted it's the kind of routine that doesn't make people stand up and cheer, he was right. It was kind of like the dance version of a bedtime story. Very nice, very soothing, very pretty. And by the end of it you're either out like a light or rummaging around in the fridge for a snack.

The judges (well, okay, Nigel) wisely played down their "Kayla can do no wrong" shtick this week, as it's probably what landed her and Max in the bottom three last week (and sent Max home). Mary was initially subdued, then couldn't resist the urge to put Kayla on the hot tamale train, which she doesn't seem to realize is pretty much a ticket for her to dance for her life on Thursday's show, but whatever. Toni also loved it and noted Kayla was something else. And, while I'm still a little pissed at Kupono (because his crap dancing is what got Ashley eliminated from the competition, if you ask me), I hope they don't end up in the bottom three, in part because I think Kupono would get the axe and then Kayla would develop a reputation as the black widow of the competition, and really, that wouldn't be fun for anyone.

 

Randi and Evan

Choreographer: Mia Michaels, um, a butt poodle dance

Verdict: Nice butt

Fun facts: Randi wants to teach special ed and Evan would own a custom car shop, two jobs that seem completely down to earth and perfect for our teensy tiny power couple, whom I just adore. Now, I know everyone got all crazy excited about Mia Michaels' butt poodle routine (seriously, I wasn't even sure what genre it was because Cat has to slur her words sometimes – I thought Tyce Diorio's name was Toasty Oreo until it came up on the screen, which I liked so much better anyway), but I wasn't so in love with it. Different, yes, but not my favorite thing.

But I'm not a dancer, and Toni is, and she loved it, and I concede to her greater wisdom because, c'mon, she's Toni freakin' Basil. And Nigel agreed it was a beautifully danced routine that "will be remembered" (can't argue with that – butt dancing does tend to stick in your mind) and Mary crowed that it was one of the best numbers of the night (but she's been pretty stingy with tickets on the hot tamale train except for Kayla, have you noticed?). And I will say, though the routine made me think of Pepe LePew cartoons an awful lot, I think it will keep these guys in the competition, and that has to count for something.

 

Jason and Caitlin

Choreographer: Jean-Marc and France Généreux, paso doble

Verdict: Not quite on fire

Fun facts: Caitlin is interested in broadcast journalism, while Jason would play soccer. And that's all noble and good, but I really don't want these two to go home yet. But (and, as Nigel told Randi and Evan, there's always a butt), I honestly thought this routine would be a slam dunk, and it so wasn't. With those costumes (hello, Princess Leia called, she wants her bra back, and Ben-Hur is looking at you, Jason), that music and the freakin' angry-sex-on-stage-in-public paso doble, this could have been a showstopper. The choreographer was definitely there, and truthfully some of the routine was heart stopping. But somehow, the end result wasn't all that. And I hate to say that, because these two are technically great dancers. Still, don't listen to me. Vote for them! Until Phillip is out of this competition, these two deserve to stay in, but I'll get to that in a moment.

Luckily, the judges were kinder than I am. Nigel didn't feel the passion but still said it was a good job. Mary thought it was a "really strong performance," and Toni called it powerful and "really good." So, a sorta tepid but not too negative assessment. Let's hope that's enough.

 

Jeanine and Phillip

Choreographer: Tyce Diorio, Broadway

Verdict: Phillip hitches a ride on Jeanine's hot tamale train... again

Fun facts: Phillip wants to invent things, and Jeanine likes acting. And right now I would like Phillip to invent some damn skills. I have completely lost my patience with this noodle head, who really doesn't deserve to be in the competition anymore, even if he can leap sofas in a single bound (which is, admittedly, pretty cool). I will say that Toasty Oreo (don't you like that better than Tyce Diorio? I know I do) did put Phillip in a no-win situation. Maybe most of the viewers haven't watched "Singin' in the Rain," but anyone who has knows that Donald O'Connor was one of the best dancers ever, ever, ever in Hollywood history. And Phillip actually kinda looks like him. The problem is, he doesn't dance like him. Not even close. And there he was with Jeanine, who already looks like she walked out of an old-timey movie, dancing circles around him. Even though I feel for him, that doesn't mean I still think he needs to be in the competition. But I suspect fans who like his personality will keep him around.

That kind of voting seems to be getting to Nigel, who basically said in so many words that Phillip, with the exception of the couch jump, isn't up to par though voters keep bringing him back, and Mary said point-blank the guy "didn't have the technique." Toni said they were adorable, but admitted that wasn't exactly high praise. Everyone agreed that the real star, other than Toasty Oreo's choreography, was Jeanine, and I'm guessing, even though Phillip deserves to be in the bottom, he won't be yet again, meaning someone more deserving will get the axe. But the good thing is I do now want to put "Singin' in the Rain" in my Netflix queue, and that's a happy warm feeling.

Do you think it's time for Phillip to go? Or do Caitlin and Jason deserve to be in the bottom despite their sci-fi gladiator outfits?

 

 

If you want to read more of Liane's work, check out her home page.

Keep following your favorite TV Shows, sign up now for HitFix Blog Alerts and get the recaps for for television's hottest shows in your inbox every day.

Is Google, Yahoo or MSN your second home?  Click here to add Monkeys As Critics' recaps to your homepage today.

Not part of the HitFix Nation yet? Take 90 seconds and sign up today.