So You Think You Can Dance–Where Shockingly, I Only Feel Meh about 1 of the Top 6

Top 6!  Tonight we will see who is in the real finale–it was curious how Nigel kept on talking about the finale being “next week” last week, but who knows what those crazy Brits are up to.

Mary Murphy, Nigel Lythgoe and Cat Deeley Image via Mathieu Young/FOX

Mary Murphy, Nigel Lythgoe and Cat Deeley
                                            Image via Mathieu Young/FOX


Some general thoughts: I generally prefer Cat Deeley with her hair down and loosely curled, and not too much in the way of makeup, so she’s on the money tonight. 



She is, however, the best host on television, so even when she does oxblood lipstick and weird updos, I can forgive her most things.  I heard she does her own hair and makeup–is this possible?  If so, bravo.  My favorite show host EVER.  I would love to be besties and have some cocktails with Cat Deeley; she seem to like all of the contestants (and judges) genuinely, which is very impressive indeed.



Hayley Erbert, Aaron Turner, Jasmine Harper, Du-Shaunt “Fik-Shun” Stegall, Amy Yakima and Paul Karmiryan

                                                                                             Image via FOX

Remark from Fiancé Rob, who I have slowly brainwashed into watching SYTYCD voluntarily AND liking it (all quotes are paraphrased, sorry): “I love how Fik-Shun and Amy and Jasmine and Aaron are still together, leaving only two other dancers in the entire competition!”  Agreed, Rob, agreed.  I do have a love for Paul though, albeit a slow growing one.  Hoping that Hayley will go home, but who knows, she could become one of those dancers that I like better after their season (Kathryn McCormick, Jeanette, Janine, Witney… Hmm, perhaps I am just kind of so-so on generically pretty girls? Who knows). 

Jesse Tyler Ferguson is back as a guest judge, which I am supportive of, even if he’s not the most knowledgeable in terms of actual dance.  Jenna Elfman last week–who knew!  I would’ve loved to see her dance.



Also hurrah, Jenna is gone!  Since you don’t have the pleasure of my thoughts on all the prior episodes, let’s just say, I hate Jenna with the burning fire of a thousands suns, and could not understand for the life of me why the judges were all about it.  I felt a little bad with her inspiration piece last week with her cousin who had MD and died young, but still, not enough to prevent me from being happy that her smug face and “sexy” dancing are gone.



Opening number choreographed by Sean Cheesman–some of the most effective African jazz I’ve seen for the most part, even if it’s not the most true African jazz in the world–love the flowy skirts, which make some pretty effects with the swirling around (that’s the technical term for it, I’m sure).  Fik-Shun really does have a lovely smile.  Nice final pose, though it does remind me of how unforgiving white spandex is.

First up, Kathryn and Paul doing Jazz: Tyce Diorio’s routines are usually not my favorite, but he’s had a couple which are pretty fun.  I did enjoy watching the movie about the modern version of A Chorus Line a few years back and seeing him as a cocky baby dancer.  For the dance: neat opening pose.  Not sure what to make of this style, which seems strangely derivative but also just kind of strange.  Rob: “She’s incredible, she’s stealing the show from him!”  Yes indeed.  Good work in Step Up 3, by the by, Ms. Kathryn. 

Whoa, Mary Murphy’s top and accessories are wild.  In a good way.  It almost reminds me of a sparkly maple leaf?  Is she Canadian?  I don’t think so, but it’s possible, eh Laura?  [EDIT BY LAURA: All Canadians know each other, so I’ll ask around] When she starts off comments with “Charisma, Talent…” it makes me want to include uniqueness and nerve, ala RuPaul, my favorite person ever.  (Sidebar–I just figured out tonight that Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, and Talent is an acronym… yep.)



Amy’s solo: Amy is such a pocket sized wee person; I sometimes forget until I see her next to normal size people.  Last week, when they had her with her cousin, it really came out.  Solo was nice but nothing mind-blowing, though she does have quite a nice 6-pack.

Hayley with Joshua!  Love him.  Doing some Nappy Tabs hip-hop, indeed.  Also he is wearing a totally awesome shirt, which makes Rob think of Laura (there’s a tiger on it). [EDIT BY Laura: This pleases me] Hayley isn’t quite as bad as I might have thought in this style, but there’s still a little something missing–perhaps her mean faces aren’t quite convincing.  Obviously, dancing next to Joshua isn’t going to help matters.  I think the shorts perhaps don’t help her tough image, given that they emphasize her teeny tiny legs and make her look even more delicate than she is.  Hard to believe that she has always struggled with insecurity issues, given that she seems to have it all going on (not trying to sound creepy).  In other news, I miss Joshua and Katee–one of my favorite SYTYCD couples ever.  Jasmine and Aaron are up there too, I must say.

Fik-Shun’s solo: I enjoy that Fik-Shun’s dad appears to be consistently wearing martial arts attire, or at minimum clothes with dragons on them.  I like his solo–went for something fast that still allowed him to ham it up.  Love that Jesse Tyler Ferguson gave him a standing ovation, aw.

Quick break to open up some cava and microwave some food: what good is a Wednesday night without bubbles?  I did consider just having champagne for dinner, but sense overcame me and I went for some TJ’s.  But if the review gets better after this point, you’ll know what happened.



Aaron and Melanie doing Spencer Liff Broadway: Melanie is a terrific dancer–didn’t know her hair was so curly.  I bet those two had fun together in rehearsals.  Ok, I’m taken from the get-go–if only because Faith is one of my favorite songs ever.  But also Melanie!  And Aaron!  He’s such a beast–can really throw around those ladies.  Reminds me a bit of Ade in that sense.  At the same time, he can be very precise and nuanced–probably why I’m such a big fan.  Aw, he dropped her–well, that’s ok.  Rob: “she reminds me of Ginnifer Godwin!”  Man, Rob is hitting it out of the park on things that I agree with tonight.  Impressive for Aaron that he can drop someone and I don’t mind one bit.  Nigel, really, telling a curly hair girl how great she looks with straightened hair?  Blech, way to give a girl a complex.  Nigel’s got a shoulder fetish, I think–is it possible that Aaron is just really built?  Still, always appreciate a real dance critique.  Also good on him for being injured and still being so damn good!  Mary, I would want Aaron to partner me as well.

Onto Jasmine, who I love the most.  Jasmine’s mom seems like a sweet lady–I’m a sucker for single mothers.  I like that she chose a Destiny’s Child song for her solo.  Jasmine to me seems like the most fully formed dancer–I could see her in a company, as a featured dancer, immediately, which isn’t always true for the other folks.

Paul spends a good chunk of his first few seconds doing nothing, which is always kind of a risk.  He does throw in some cool tricks and gymnastic type moves, which are sometimes controversial (it’s not quite dancing, really, and a little Dance Moms for my preference), but is way better than the average ballroom solo which is boring as anything.

Fik-Shun and Witney doing the foxtrot, choreographed by Jonathan Roberts: A little anxious about this one.  Witney looks a little strange in her talking head–perhaps less eye makeup than I am used to.  Certainly she looks killer in that blue dress on stage though!  This is not Fik-Shun’s best routine–he is definitely outclassed by Witney.  The fellas in ballroom tend to do a little more standing around than I really prefer as a matter of course.  Fun enough routine, though, and a few cool tricks.  I love when Mary gives ballroom critiques, and actually shows her knowledge beyond the woo!s and hot tamale trains, and this time was no disappointment.  Makes me appreciate the dances more, too, since I wouldn’t necessarily pick up on someone’s closed hold position, for example, unless it’s really a hot mess.



Fik-Shun and Witney                  Image via FOX

Hayley’s solo is a pretty standard contemporary bit–solid, but not such an example of technical excellence that I’m blown away (by contrast: Jakob Karr, Alex Wong, Chehon, Brandon, I’m sure there are girls too, just not thinking of them immediately…).

Jasmine and Neil doing contemporary: Omg, is Tyce Diorio really doing a climate change piece?  Yikes. Not sure how this is going to go. 

In general, I feel like this season there have been less cry inducing pieces, though last week was a killer with all the dead kids serving as inspiration and terrible tragedies befalling dancers.  This piece, I feel like is a more hokey Travis Wall knockoff, but still, Jasmine and Neil are terrific dancers.  Standing ovation by the judges–pretty much expected, not the least deserved.  Tyce looks so damn smug in the audience though, ugh.  Wow, Nigel just echoed my comments above on Jasmine–I agree, Nigel, Jasmine could absolutely have an incredible career in a company tomorrow.  What is Jasmine’s journey this season, exactly, other than being fantastic start to finish?  Oh well, still rave reviews from Mary (and from Jesse, for that matter).  I enjoyed his comment about pieces with social relevance being easy to root for but that they also have to have heart–yes sir.  I’m a little concerned with Jasmine being everyone’s favorite… doesn’t seem like that works out so great for many of the judge’s favorites, with Melanie as an exception.

For Aaron’s solo, who’s got a cute little family–one of my favorite tap solos I’ve seen.  Really liked it from a purely percussive level, though the skill level involved is insane.  Standing ovation from the judges!  Totally deserved.  Love how smooth that boy is.

Amy and Alex, doing Bollywood… ALEX WONG!  Alex Wong and Twitch’s hip-hop number is possibly my favorite SYTYCD number ever” 

(The actual piece starts at about 1:06).  So revelatory when it aired–I was completely blown away at how awesome he was, so unexpected.

Interesting that they seem to be using him as an All-Star in mostly random dance categories, such as tonight, with the Bollywood.  I know this is Amy’s number, but still, some of these moments, like his jump and leg extension, man, how I love him.  Amy did a perfectly nice job, and given what an atrocity Bollywood numbers can often be, certainly good enough.  Mary is correct about the athleticism involved–I once took a bhangra class with my friend Priya and I thought my quads were going to give out after about 15 minutes.  “Good jolly Miss Bollywood!”  Adorable, Jesse Tyler Ferguson.  And yes, that routine with Travis Wall last week was completely bananas good.  Rob points out that several Indian theaters would be burned down if they actually had a movie with a kiss, and yes, true enough, but authenticity has never been a high point on this show.


Amy and Alex do Bollywood

Image via ADAM ROSE / FOX

Paul and Hayley doing Dee Caspary contemporary: Seeing Paul and Hayley, it just makes me wish that it were one of the other couples.  Even though I love Paul, and they are both lovely technically, I still wish it were one of the other couples that really seem to have a love for each other.  Interesting cover of 500 miles, by the by.  Really, standing ovation?  At least Nigel stayed seated, showing some sense, that old curmudgeon.  Mary wants these two to get together–no! what! Madness.  Paul deserves someone much better than blah Hayley.  Ha, love that Jesse made fun of Carly Rae Jepsen!  Seriously, though.  I do often forget that Paul is a ballroom dancer, because he’s just so terrific in contemporary.  Probably what made him win SYTYCD Armenia, I suppose (something that I forgot until very recently) (he was the one, right?)  Hayley, not much to say–she continues to do well, I continue to be kind of meh on her.

Dave Scott Hip-hop with Amy and Fik-Shun–we shall see how they do with a more serious hip-hop piece rather than one where they get to be cutesy and smiley.  Solid on the synchronicity front.  Amy is acquitting herself quite nicely for a little white girl, I do declare. Dig on Miley, eh?  Well, that was a softball, I must say.  (As her best friend Leslie says, she’s just being Miley).  Agreed with Mary on the first steps and body syncopation.  Way to bring it around to Tom Clancy, Mary–did not think that was a reference.  Aw, also like that JTF made a pocket-sized reference.  The judges and I, we’re just alike!  Obviously.

Jasmine and Aaron, Sean Cheesman jazz–as previously noted, very much my favorite couple, and happy to see them together again. Wowie zowie, quite an outfit on Jasmine!  I’m not sure Jasmine has tendons, the way she can bend her legs without an ounce of resistance.


Bananas, I say! Not my favorite dance ever, but some really incredible moments.  However, I won’t begrude the judge’s their standing ovation because I love Jasmine and Aaron just that much.  Double standard, I know, but eh, what can you do.  Hee, I like JTF’s protractor comment on Jasmine’s leg move (above)–definitely.  Also awwwww on Aaron looking like JTF’s husband!  So cute.  I very much appreciate Nigel’s shoutout to Aaron’s tap solo–he does love his tappers.

Dun dun dun… it’s the results!  By the way, Hayley’s outfit last week–what is that for? I mean, it’s a white button down, but also stocking with the seams up the back and heels–are you coming home from your job as a sexy secretary?  Unclear.  These are the problems that plague my life.  Amy was definitely the standout from last week–no surprise that she’s the first one safe!  Very happy for her.  Now we just need Jasmine to make my girls finale perfect… And we have it! Yes! So pleased.  I truly hope that Jasmine wins.  Nice that Hayley is so gracious and smiling about her exit–very classy.  Makes me like her more.  Still can see her tearing up a bit at the end of her clips, sad.

Last week for the guys, Paul probably did my favorite routine, which was surprising given that he was paired with Comfort, who isn’t one of my favorite All-Stars (but who seems like a lovely lady).  And Aaron is first to be announced!  Yay!  I will be happy either way, as I like both Paul and Fik-Shun.  Next is Fik-Shun–I nailed it again on the prediction train.  I will miss Paul though; he was a dark horse that kind of snuck up on me, until all the sudden I really liked him.  It probably would have been easier for me to like him sooner if he weren’t paired up with Makenzie, who I found rather dull, and who spells her name in a way that gets my goat (as does Witney).

And that’s all folks!  Thanks for bearing with me on my first ever recap!  Next time it will possibly be less stream-of-consciousness.  Or not.  You’ll just have to tune in to find out!


Top Four!    Next episode of SYTYCD airs Tuesday, Sept. 3 on FOX