Hip hip hooray! Wow, this might have been the best So You Think You Can Dance
episode of the season yet. First of all, something to cheer about: cheerleading hottie Toni Basil was a guest judge! Oh Toni, you're still so fine, you're still so fine you still blow my mind after all these years. Yes, kids, you may think of Mizz Basil as the one-hit wonder behind "Mickey" (which was "covered" later by Avril Lavigne, ever so thinly disguised as "Girlfriend"), but her main career has always been as a choreographer (she masterminded the drill-team moves in her iconic, early-MTV "Mickey" video). It was wonderful to see her sitting on the judges' panel tonight next to Nigel and Mary...but hey, SYTYCD
producers, how about Toni invite her back as a guest choreographer, and have her create some original routines for the dancers? I'd really
be cheering then.
There was plenty of stuff on tonight's show to get me jumping up and down and waving my proverbial pom-poms, actually. The show got off to real rah-rah start with newly formed couple Courtney and Will. I'm sure Courtney was a little worried when Will pulled her name out of the hat, since it was being paired next to this season's blatantly favored golden boy that made Will's old partner Jessica look so bad week after week.
But when Courtney and Will danced a samba--a tasty "feast for the hips," as it were--they displayed a chemistry that Will and Jessica never shared even after weeks of rehearsing together. Nigel Lythgoe was thrilled, declared it a sign of a hot night to follow--and he sure was right.
Comfort followed with a surprisingly strong solo--extra points to her for dancing to a supercool electrofunk jam by Simian Mobile Disco, too--but I wondered, when she ended her dance by sitting in a crosslegged yoga pose on the floor, hands held together at her chest, if she was secretly--or not so secretly--praying for more time. Because she knows she was lucky to make it through last week--or to get a second chance on the show at all, after an injured Jessica had to withdraw. And she probably knows she needs to pray in order to stay another week.
Next, Twitch got paired with Katee, and I just knew
this was gonna be good. Katee, the best female on the show at this point, has had great luck the last couple weeks--she got to do that stunning ballet and cute rowboat routine with Will last week, and this week not only did she get to dance with the totally awesome Twitch (who, apparently, is an old friend of hers), but
she got to dance in her specialty genre of contemporary and
she got to work with Mia Michaels (the "reigning queen of contemporary," according to Toni Basil). I'd almost start spouting conspiracy theories about now--it all seems a little too
coincidental here--but hey, this number was such a blast (Nigel declared it one of most entertaining routines ever on the show, and I agreed), I'll just let it slide and not think about it too hard. Twitch and Katee ("Twitchee"?) did one of those high-drama routines, to Duffy's "Mercy," that almost made me think this show should be retitled So You Think You Can Act.
It was a totally unhinged depiction of a Winehouse-beehived, psycho ex-girlfriend banging down her former lover's door; man, these two sure didn't seem
like old friends during this fiery, madly passionate routine.
They looked like they were about to claw each other's eyes out on that stage, really. Katee additionally looked like she was about to crush Twitch's head with her mighty, angry legs, like Famke Jansen in Bond-girl mode. Wow, Katee really can
act. At least I hope
she was acting. Otherwise, be afraid of this girl, fellas. Be very afraid. Hell hath no fury like a Katee scorned.
Next, Will returned to the stage with a solo, he got DOWN with his bad self. Yes, Will got a brand-new bag this evening. He hit the stage like a sex machine, decked out in a flat-ironed '60s wig and retro suit, getting funky to a James Brown song. Anyone who thought this guy was just a technician before tonight can now stand corrected. Coming out in costume and imitating the Hardest-Working Man In Show Business was risky business, as it could have come across as gimmicky, but Will's risk paid off. Tonight, he proved he's a real personality plus. He got up offa that thing, he worked up a cold sweat...and it just might have been my favorite solo in So You Think You Can Dance history.
Next up, Mark picked Comfort's name out of the hat. I can just imagine what was going through his fauxhawked head: "Oh no. I'm screwed." Both Mark and Comfort were (separately) in the bottom last week, and Comfort is widely considered the weakest female left in the competition. But hey, at least they got to do hip-hop. Again
. This was the THIRD time that Comfort, a hip-hop dancer by trade, was "randomly" assigned a hip-hop routine. Coincidence? Um, I think not. I could write a whole blog filled with conspiracy theories about Comfort. Maybe later. Right now, I'll write about Mark and Comfort's dance to Nelly and Fergie's "Party People." Well, I must admit, they did get the party started. Maybe being in the bottom did help them "bring the fire," as Mark theorized. Or maybe they got all worked up writing, "I will not be in the bottom" over and over as some sort of self-inflicted, detention-style punishment.
See, their first dance tonight was a too-cool-for-school, school-themed routine, expertly choreographed by Tabitha & Napoleon, in which Comfort quite convincingly played a naughty schoolgirl; Mark also quite ably held his own, and both got high marks. An A+ for both! But will Mark and Comfort graduate to the next level, or will class be dismissed for them?
I at least hope Mark makes it through. His solo was insanely good tonight. His moves were so huge, in fact, that they could not be contained on the stage, and he ended his dance by leaping into the audience feet-first. It was weird and creepy-cool (and soundtracked by the weird and creepy-cool Santogold), just how I like Mark. As Cat Deeley put it, "There's nothing wrong with being a little bit different"--and Mark is a lot a bit different. Which makes him so wrong, he's right.
Chelsea and Josh were the fourth new couple tonight, doing a sexy tango choreographed by SYTYCD
alum Dmitry. Once again, Josh proved that, in the words of Courtney last week, he's a MAAAAAN
. These two had such raw sexual chemistry together, I expected members of the audience to shout out, "Get a room!" Josh sure does seem to enjoy getting all up in his lady partners' bidness; he'll probably be bummed when, as the competition advances and he inevitably makes it through from one round to the next, he has to do more solo dances and fewer sexy partner routines. I bet the females on the show will be bummed, too. Comfort hasn't even had a chance to be manhandled by he-man Josh yet, and it's quite possible she never will.
Courtney and Will's second routine was a slow hip-hop number--which, as former SYTYCD regular Shane Sparks has stressed repeatedly on America's Best Dance Crew, is surprisingly tough to pull off. But Tabitha & Napoleon definitely created a routine--depicting two lovers separated by death and then momentarily reunited, Ghost-style--that really showcased both dancers' strengths.
The song choice, Alicia Keys's "Like You'll Never See Me Again," really complemented the dance's theme, and the big embrace at the end gave me goosebumps. I do hope I'll see these two again, next week.
Chelsea filled the token ballroom-hottie-in-a-skimpy-fringed-dress role (there's one every SYTYCD season) during her solo, and she filled it quite well. She's quite a little hot tamale, to quote Mary Murphy. Then Twitchee returned for their second dance, a sexy, Tice Diorio-choreographed Broadway routine to "Sweet Georgia Brown," in which Katee played a femme fatale attempting to seduce a resistant Twitch. Naturally, Twitch didn't resist for long. What red-blooded man would? Katee seduced the judges and probably all of America, too, once again proving she's best girl on the show.
Josh then danced his solo, which was very impressive, because even though he has the "biggest bum on the show" according to Nigel, he still managed to do the splits. Courtney's solo featured an equally tricky trick: For a split second, she balanced right on her toe-tips as if she were wearing ballet pointe shoes, even though she was in fact completely barefooted. Ouch!
It hurt just to look at that, but she pulled it off with totally effortless elegance. Twitch's Michael Jackson-esque, moonwalk-heavy solo was also a marvel to behold, so much so it was hard to fathom that he was a "late-bloomer" dancer, according to his interview bio piece tonight.
Mark and Comfort returned to the stage next, and though they were dancing to Brian Setzer's "Lady Luck," they were unlucky this time, as they had to do a foxtrot. This time, they really were screwed. The most enjoyable part of the number, for me, was when Comfort strangled Mark with her feather boa (pretty-boy Mark actually looked better wearing that boa than she did), but Mark was the one who probably wanted to strangle her. Comfort did her best, of course, but she was waaaaay out of her element, and her lack of ballroom experience showed. Nigel called the routine "slightly amateurish," Mary declared one of their transitions "the worst I've ever seen," and Toni Basil was hardly breaking out her pom-poms, either. I was equally unimpressed. I do hope Mark's aforementioned awesome solo can save him, like his "Bohemian Rhapsody" solo did last week...but I'm afraid his luck may have finally run out.
Josh and Chelsea ended the evening with a disco dance masterminded by Cher's Vegas revue choreographer, Doriana Sanchez. Chelsea, a ballroom dancer by trade and an expert at partner work, was pure disco dynamite, but I thought for the first time in perhaps the entire competition, macho man Josh seemed a little unsure of himself. The judges didn't think so, though: They praised his musclebound ability to lift Chelsea like she was the lightest of feathers (it's true, he executed that "Superman lift" with Tony Manero-style skill), and Mary said they were "dancing their bodies full-tilt." Then she screamed, I think. I think my ears are still ringing...
So if I had to predict who will be cut tomorrow, sadly, I think it will be Mark among the men. And, not so sadly, it will be his partner Comfort among the ladies. I will be seriously dejected to see Mark go, but his foxtrot tonight was not so foxy. And as for Comfort, her time has come. Well, actually, her time came a couple of weeks ago. But whatever...
Tune in tomorrow to see if I'm right!