And the number of dancers continues to dwindle ever so quickly before we even have a sense of what these dancers can do. How is the American public supposed to feel inclined to pick up the phone and vote for people they barely know? This is why starting with 20 is so important. Or one of the many reasons. In my frustration, I searched the Internet for some sort of justification for WHY they've cut the beginning number of dancers in half, and this article on Dance Network was the best argument I could find.
But I still disagree. Yes, keeping the numbers down to 10 rather than 20 means we're getting much more skilled dancers right off the bat. But the show has never been about finding America's BEST dancer. The wording of the show clearly says America's FAVORITE dancer. Part of what makes someone a "favorite" is the journey, rather than the end result. We want to see dancers falter and get better after receiving feedback. We want to root for the underdog and watch them grow and get better. Cutting the show down to a Top 10 doesn't give space for growth. And the show happens so quickly now that the dancers that are on the show are simply proving how good they are now, rather than getting an opportunity to become even better.
But on with the show, I guess. Sigh.
I will be ignoring the group number at the beginning and aaalllll the solos because YAWN.
The first duet is Jensen and Jay Jay's jazz routine, choreographed by Sean Cheesman. I want to discuss this routine specifically not because I have much to say about it in general or because it was one of my favorite. Rather, this was a rare shining moment for Vanessa Hudgens, of all people. As I was watching this routine, I kept thinking to myself that there was something about Jensen that just wasn't sitting well with me. I've mentioned before that she makes a lot of overwrought muggy ballroom faces when she dances, but it's something more than that.
The other judges seemed generally pleased with this routine, but Vanessa hit the nail on the head. She pointed out that the dance was clunky, which I agree with, but more importantly, Vanessa noted that Jensen is not the best actress because she anticipates what’s coming a little bit every time. This is the most spot-on judging from Vanessa ever. Good job, girl. Snaps to you.
Meanwhile, Nigel Lythgoe calls Jensen the "poster child for So You Think You Can Dance," and I'm like why though? Because her sister is a bad ass and she was on the show? What has Jensen done for me lately?
Genessy and Slavik followed up with a contemporary routine choreographed by Mandy Moore. I was into this routine, but the bitter feminist in me wonder why Genessy was doing all the falling and Slavik was doing all the supporting. Shouldn't a relationship be give and take? Shouldn't they be falling into each other and protecting each other? Next week, I'd like to see someone choreograph a contemporary routine that's about a healthy couple with a true 50/50 relationship. Does that sound boring to you? Maybe it shouldn't be!
But for real, the true standout moment of this routine was again in the judging that happened after. Mary Murphy says to the couple, “You’re like this season’s biggest surprise couple in the history of So You Think You Can Dance."
I feel like the end of that sentence needs to have a conversation with the beginning of that sentence and try again.
In other random judging news, since apparently this episode was more about the judging for me than the actual dances (what does that say?), Nigel gets bitchy after Magda and Darius perform a Jaci Royal contemporary routine featuring a rope. For some reason, Nigel decides this is the moment to come down on the choreographers for relying on props rather than actual dance moves. Excuse me? This show is a regular props bonanza. Why is this the dance that grinds your gears, especially since the very next dances features a whole kitchen with cookware and all? Nigel sucks. That's my professional opinion.
After Nigel's dumb comment, my husband pointed out that nearly every routine all night had featured a prop of some kind. Hello, Cole and Hannahlei and your umbrella. And some of the most iconic dances in SYTYCD history have props in them. So bye, Nigel.
I feel like I should also mention my favorite routine of the night: Hannahlei and my boo Cole dance the cha cha choreographed by Sasha Farber and Emma Slater. Dang, this was hot. And Mary Murphy accurately points out afterwards that the choreography is extremely creative. It isn't often that we see brand new flips that have never been done before, but I think Farber and Slater accomplished that. Standing ovation fo sho.
Sadly, two of my favorites go this week, and I am bitter because I truly believe it's because the public wasn't given an opportunity to warm up to them. Goodbye, Cole and Magda. You deserved better.