On Wednesday night, I predicted that for the first time in "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 7, a male contestant would go home. I just didn't expect that that male contestant would be...ALEX WONG.
Alex gave up everything to compete on "SYTYCD"--leaving a post at the prestigious Miami City Ballet and subsequently facing the scorn of the ballet community for his controversial decision--but all that sacrifice seemed worth it when he quickly established himself as both a judge and fan favorite this season. The judges went so far as to declare his "Hallelujah" contemporary routine with allstar Allison Holker one of the best dances in the series' history, and his ability to keep up with allstar Twitch Boss in last week's hip-hop battle shocked and awed everyone. But on Thursday, Alex's run on "SYTYCD" was cut tragically short, when it was revealed that the lacerated Achilles tendon injury he sustained this week in rehearsal--which prevented him from competing Wednesday night--will require surgery followed by three months' rest. So this week, Alex was sadly sent home. The judges made it clear he'll be invited back next season, but this
season won't be the same without him.
"You taught me that the best can be better, and you've made all the dancers better for being here," said sniffly judge Adam Shankman. And I agree. I'm already looking forward to Alex making his fellow Season 8 dancers better, when he returns.
Actually, in related bummer news, Thursday's results show got off to a punch-the-TV-screen frustrating start when Billy Bell (one of my other faves this season, and a dancer who I assumed was a fan fave, too) inexplicably landed in the bottom two. (Only two dancers were selected for possible elimination by the voting public this week, because according to "SYTYCD" rules, the injured Alex had to be automatically placed in the bottom three.) It was Billy's second week on the chopping block, inexplicably, but this time this result was even more inexplicable, since he was so amazing Wednesday night. (The judges even said Billy's "Cats" Broadway routine with allstar Lauren Gottlieb was his finest partner dance of the season.)
Bittersweetly joking about Billy's two feline-themed dances this week (Billy's other one cast him as a jaguar being stalked by hunter Jose Ruiz), Adam sighed, "Apparently a lot of people had allergies last night, or there were a lot of dog-lovers picking up the phone last night. This is not about your dancing--you are a brilliant dancer." I just kept hoping Billy would prove to have nine lives in this competition.
The other dancer in the publicly voted bottom two was another shocker: Ashley Galvan, one of judge Mia Michaels' favorites, the girl Adam called a "quiet contender," and the powerhouse who stunned in her dynamically outside-the-box "ninja assassin" routine with allstar hip-hopper Dominic Sandoval this week. This too was undeserved.
So it was a night of surprises, quite unpleasant ones--I'd kind of hoped that Adechike Torbert, who struggled on Wednesday and received harsh words from Mia (although she later apologized), would be up for elimination, and I'd warily expected that Robert Roldan, an all-too-frequent face in the bottom three, might sadly end up there again after his awkward quickstep. But I never thought I'd see Billy and Ashley soloing for their lives this week. Then again, I never thought I'd see Alex on crutches, either.
And so, the unenviable judges were faced with a three-way Sophie's Choice. Send home their beloved Alex, probably the most talented dancer on this show, thus cruelly not allowing him the chance to recover from his injury and possibly go on to win this whole thing? Cut Billy, an undeniably "brilliant dancer" who had to bow out last season due to his own health struggles? Or say goodbye to one of the only two girls left on the show, resulting in an even more lopsided competition that would ensure many of the male allstars would sit on the bench for the rest of the season? I kind of hoped for the latter scenario--not because I don't like Ashley (I totally do), but just because I like Alex and Billy more.
Well, obviously it turned out that the judges didn't have to make that tough decision, after the heartbreaking results of Alex's MRI were revealed. No matter which of this week's undeserving and excellent bottom three had been cut, I was going to be sad...but this was the saddest possible outcome, really.
Reflect on this tragic situation as you watch the video to Season 7's exit song, Black Gold's "Shine," below. See you next week...and Alex, I'll see you next season.
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