So You Think You Can
Something seemed kind of broken to me last night on So You Think You Can Dance. It's probably because I felt last week's eliminations, especially that of Kameron, were the first totally off-base choices of the season. Tonight's partner dances were very good, but I think we're all still waiting for someone to dazzle us consistently. Something more than Danny's technical elan, Sabra's charming versatility, or Lacey's dynamic style. With only two weeks to go, it better happen soon. As for last night...
Sara and Danny
#1: Argentine Tango: You know any time they put Danny in the leadoff position, there's going to be something A) technically difficult and B) visually mind-blowing. The tango didn't disappoint, with excellent lines and a pretzel-twist move that had me slack-jawed. I guess nobody cared that it didn't have much passion, or that Danny -- saucily waving a Spanish hand fan -- is drifting as close as one can to being openly queer without lipsynching Streisand on national television. The bigger question: if he's already the pre-ordained winner, do we need to keep watching? #2: Hip-Hop: Ugh. The less said, the better. Just about as gay, in all senses of the word, as I've ever seen hip-hop be. Can I just be a bastard for a second and ask: is Danny unable to butch it up? When asked to do a masculine dance style, it's like he doesn't even try, because he knows the judges are going to hand the whole thing to him. I hate that.
Lauren and Dominic
#1: Krumping: A totally uninspiring routine, with no excitement and none of the brutal energy that typifies the genre. (The judges, clueless about the style, decided instead to deride the music choice, a 50 Cent song. Weak.) But even as poor as it was, Lauren was even worse. She looked like a preppy teenager, smiling through the moves and giggling as she battle-danced. This is what it's supposed to look like, Lauren! The judges, damn them to eternal hell, cut her a massive amount of slack, but she'll get none from me. Why is she still here? She's clearly out of Lacey and Sabra's league, and even Sara is dancing circles around her now. #2: Rhumba: A spectacularly minimalist choreography (although I'm not certain it was technically a rhumba) and a pitch-perfect music choice ("Ain't No Sunshine", by my man Bill Withers) led to a slow and sultry piece that burned with intensity and emotion. Even Lauren wasn't terrible, can you believe it? I disagree with the judges' critique that there wasn't enough dancing...as anyone will tell you, it takes as much work to control small movements as it does to bounce around the stage. I really dug it, probably my favorite of the night.
Lacey and Neil
#1: Latin Jazz: Neil has obviously noticed Danny's ascendancy towards the winners' circle...so tonight he pulled out the big guns to try to stop the trend. By which I mean, he flashed some skin and danced shirtless. (And yes, he's got nice pecs.) Did this cheap ploy for votes work? You betcha. The all-gay-and-female audience lost their shit for it, so I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that he'll be safe (and his dancing was irrelvant, so why discuss it). To their credit, the judges called them on the B.S. -- Shankman went after Lacey's face-front style, Mary called Neil on his lack of chemistry, and Lythgoe bitched them both out. But it doesn't matter because next was...#2: Contemporary: Mia Michaels choreographed a pristine, flower-strewn duet about her dead father; although it was touching in some way, for me it mostly alternated between being maudlin and affecting. What is much more important, in terms of the competition, is this: it was beautiful to look at AND simple enough in intent to be understood by even the youngest TV viewer. The judges went overboard -- Shankman called it one of the best dances ever in television history -- and Mary wept silently. (For the record, it wasn't all THAT. Pull it back, Mary! And you too, Mary!) But if anyone ever had a get-out-of-jail-free card, it's Lacey and Neil.
Sabra and Pasha
#1: Broadway: Finally a real Broadway number (Andrew Lippa's "A Wild, Wild Party")...and in my opinion, they totally whiffed. Don't get me wrong -- they're both incredible dancers. But the shaggy spirit of the number was totally missed, and their chunky, overdone dance moves made me feel like I was watching a dingy bus-and-truck tour of Footloose. The judges, of course, raved...but had this actually been on Broadway, they would have closed in a week. #2: Quick Step: Another great musical choice ("Mr. Pinstripe Suit", by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy)...Pasha was in his element, but Sabra, who'd never danced this style before, spent the entire number playing catch-up. She's been an audience favorite from early on, and the judges gave her a pass on her weak moments. So maybe she's safe...I hope so. With Kameron gone, she's now my hope to win.
Bottom Four: Sabra, Lauren, Pasha, and Dominic
Going Home Tonight: Lauren and Dominic