As the top 20 sashayed out at the start of "SYTYCD's" first live results show of the season, all looking fierce (and dancing fiercer) in a killer-ninja routine choreographed by Sonya Tayeh and soundtracked by M.I.A., my heart stopped. And then it sank. Because I knew that by the episode's end, two of these uh-mazing dancers would be going home...and I knew none of them really deserved to.
And I guess the judges knew that too...because in an "SYTYCD" first, no one went home this week; the judges decided to let all 20 dancers advance! I'd like to think this will set a pattern for the entire season, culminating in a 20-way tie on the Season 8 finale...but alas, the sad fact is there will a quadruple-elimination next week. I'm already dreading that, and if I were one of the judges, I'd probably call in sick to Fox next Thursday, rather than face such a Sophie's Choice.
Seriously, this isn't hyperbole here: The Season 8 "SYTYCD" top 20 is the strongest in this series' history. Sure, phenomenally talented dancers are nothing new on this show, and every year the top 10 is stellar, but usually at this early stage in the game, there are at least a couple cannon-fodder contestants in the mix. Not this year. So I can only imagine how painful Thursday nights are going to be this summer, if the eliminations were already this difficult in week 1.
But anyway, some dancers had to be voted into the bottom, even if they were eventually saved. And this week those dancers were Jordan and Tadd (who were fantastic in their African dance this week, so I can only assume it was their disadvantage of performing first that cost them votes); Jess and Clarice (who absolutely did not deserve to be there); and Robert and Miranda. The latter couple made a little sense, since Robert received some of the only judge criticism of Wednesday night, Miranda didn't show much personality, and Robert's over-the-top "Woo Man" shtick was probably a bit much for some viewers. But still, the idea of Robert--who previously seemed poised to be one of this season's breakout stars--going home this soon seemed like a crazy proposition.
Also up for elimination, by default, was lyrical dancer Mitchell, only because he dislocated his elbow this week and was therefore unable to compete on Wednesday. At first it seemed like the fair thing to do was send Mitchell home, rather than keep him over other male contestants who did dance this week; I figured the judges would just do what they did with Billy Bell, who in the top 20 week of Season 6 had to bow out due to illness, but was then fast-tracked to the Vegas Callbacks in Season 7 (and eventually made that season's top 10). But then, it turned out Mitchell had gotten the okay from doctors to solo for his life this evening...and his solo was EXQUISITE. It hinted at the amazingness to come, should he be allowed to stay, and suddenly it seemed a shame to let him slip through the cracks.
Mitchell's solo was so exquisite, in fact, that the judges wanted to see it again. Yes, in another "SYTYCD" first, Nigel Lythgoe asked Mitchell to reprise his solo, and also requested the same of Robert--which I can only assume meant the panel was flip-flopping between the two, in terms of who to eliminate. I also suspect that the judges' ultimate decision to not cut anyone had to do with their reluctance to let Mitchell go, combined with their concern about showing too much favoritism by letting him stay under the unusual circumstances.
Well, whatever the reason, you're not going to hear any complaints from me. I'll save my complaining for later...like next week, when FOUR dancers go home.
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