"Thursdays...they suck," hostess Cat Deeley griped at the start of this week's "So You Think You Can Dance" results show. Yep, they sure do, Cat. Especially when the wrong contestants go home.
Granted, this week's elimination night wasn't quite as hard a blow as last week's, since only two dancers (compared to last Thursday's whopping four) went home. And perhaps it is harsh to say that the "wrong" dancers got cut, when really, in a season as competitive as this one, there are no "right" dancers to eliminate--all are worthy, and all could have easily made the top 10 in a past "SYTYCD" season. But still, I have serious issues with who was eliminated this week, particularly among the girls.
Two of the couples in the bottom were Ashley and Chris and Caitlynn and Mitchell, as I'd predicted. Although Caitlynn and Mitchell's samba this week was superb, I figured they'd be in danger simply because they did a less popular genre of dance. (Let's face it: Couples who get contemporary and hip-hop on this show usually have an advantage.) And as for Ashley and Chris, I knew Nigel Lythgoe's negative critique, which was not entirely undeserved, would hurt them.
However, I was genuinely surprised to see Miranda and Robert join these couples on the chopping block. I thought their sexy Tyce Diorio Broadway routine this week was pure dynamite, and I believed it had effectively positioned dark horse Miranda--a girl who'd barely been on my radar when this competition started--as one to watch, and possibly one to beat. Nigel had called her "the most changed dancer since the show began," and Mary Murphy had described her transformation as nothing less than "incredible." Robert had garnered glowing praise as well, with guest judge Lil' C telling him, "You have the type of personality that one can only receive if the planets are in perfect alignment when you're born," and Mary saying, "I think you're a star, and it's getting a little shinier ever single week."
Yes, I was surprised to see Miranda and Robert in the bottom six. But I was even more surprised to see them in the bottom TWO. Shockingly, it was Miranda and Robert who went home this Thursday.
If these two had not delivered in their solos, I would have understood the judges' controversial decision. While I have adored Ashley up until now, I felt her solo was lackluster and light on technical difficulty; while everyone else was backflipping and pulling all sorts of gorgeous shapes, Ashley's solo came across more like a series of coy poses, much more rudimentary. Caitlynn's had more passion and fire, but was a little rough in parts. Miranda's solo, in my opinion, was actually the best among the three girls.
The guys' solos were more evenly matched. Mitchell's, which began with him intensely posed like a racehorse ready to spring out of the gate, was the most stunning; Chris's, which was full of cool tricks and ended with him literally on his knees as if begging for another chance, was also fantastic. But the sheer entertainment value of Robert's Michael Jacksonesque solo could not be denied, and as always, the Woo Man stood out.
My personal (albeit reluctant) picks to go were Ashley and Chris, although I suspected Robert, whose bold "Woo Man" personality always seemed to irritate Nigel, was in grave danger. So how ironic it was that when Nigel told Chris that he was safe, he said that he'd loved Chris's "woodpecker" hip-hop routine from last week...when it was in fact ROBERT who'd danced that routine, NOT Chris. Had Nigel just eliminated the wrong dancer, or was he reading the wrong notes? Probably the latter, since it was obvious Robert was never his favorite. Regardless, Robert took the news in stride, delivered a pep talk that indicated he might have a future in motivational speaking, and went out with one last audience-assisted "WOO!!!"
While I'd worried for Robert, I never thought his partner Miranda would be the girl to go. The decision to send her packing was not unanimous (the decision to cut Robert was), and Nigel revealed later to reporters backstage that he'd fought to keep Miranda over Ashley. I kind of wish he'd gotten his way.
Well, hopefully the remaining 14 contestants will be inspired to bring it next week, thanks to this evening's jaw-unhinging performance by two incredible guest dancers, theatrical ballroom champions Eric Luna and Georgia Ambarian. Eric and Georgia's routine was so gravity- and logic-defying, it almost looked like it was the product of some really good, really Spielbergian CGI; it seemed impossible that two mere mortals could actually move like this in real life. As excellent as this year's "SYTYCD" dancers are, there is always room for improvement, and Eric and Georgia certainly gave the top 14 something to strive toward.