The dancers try their hardest, but choreographer Sonya Tayeh has some words of encouragement: Try harder or die.
So You Think You Can Dance’s Vegas rounds give us roughly the same amount of drama as American Idol’s Hollywood week, but the stakes are actually higher because everyone in Vegas is extraordinary in at least one form of dance. On Idol, there’s always a chance some moron who squawked an OK version of Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours” won a ticket to Hollywood, you know? On SYTYCD, everyone is an astounding talent — which is why it’s sort of disappointing when unqualified guest judges like Hannah Simone from New Girl and Jason Derulo of “JaSON DeruloooOOooOO” fame get a say in the proceedings. Simone was honestly introduced as “a dance enthusiast.” It would’ve been more bad-ass if she were “an anti-dance curmudgeon” or something more threatening. Thanks to her peppy sobriquet, we knew she wouldn’t be uttering a hint of criticism all night.
This episode had its fab moments, tough — ironically and not, of course. Here are my five favorites.
Everyone stands in a line and explains why they’re the best. For no reason.
I always enjoy when Heidi Klum forces the designers on Project Runway to admit why they deserve to go to Fashion Week over their competitors. You usually hear tearful, shockingly banal things like, “I just want this so bad,” as if that’s news to anybody ever. This week, Nigel forced the remaining steppers to vaunt their own greatness, and results were wonderfully ridic. “I’m tired of being the good tapper!” one contestant cried, adding, “I want to be an all-star.” The Good Tapper, by the way, will be a fine Julianna Margulies spinoff series. Other claims: “Dance, for me, isn’t just something I do. It’s a part of me”; “So You Think You Can Dance has really helped me to get out of my shell that I was in”; “I really do believe I can do this!” Yeah, what about honest revelations? Here’s what I’d say: My dancing is angry and funky, I’m not annoying, my pale skin is very now in a Michael Fassbender way, and I’ll make fun of Tyce Diorio to his face. K?”
Sonya Tayeh’s Encouraging Tirade
The best part about the Las Vegas rounds are the insane, cliched, terrible things the choreographers say to the dancers. To paraphrase Sonya Tayeh, who I swear is Ibuki from the Street Fighter series, “Don’t make a fool of me!” She wasn’t satisfied with how well the dancers were handling her jazz choreography, so she ordered them to stay overnight and perfect it. Right, because if there’s one way to become a great dancer, it’s by not sleeping. This brought back fond memories of Mia Michaels’ tirades in prior seasons, which usually sounded something like this: “Guys, a few words of advice?: Awful. Faster. Higher. Not good enough. Do that spin again, except lose ten pounds. You are losers, after all. Try it again. Your fat isn’t strong enough, Jennifer. That’s it. Cry harder. Bleed into your crying. Use the blood to lubricate your ugly limbs. Trade limbs with a hotter dancer. Beg a hotter dancer for a gun to shoot you with. That would help. Guys, by the way, this routine is about cancer.”
Malece Survives Mal de Tête
Now, Malece is a fabulous dancer, but there’s a distinct chance that her Linda Evangelista-in-Whoville shtick is too precious. We saw her toughen a bit this episode during her required partner routine, as the aloof-and-perhaps-soulless Armen dropped her on her head in a rehearsal. Terrifying, and only funny when you think about it. The girl convalesced after a quick trip to the emergency room, and her ensuing performance was as elegant and compulsively watchable as her audition. We all deserve inspirational concussions at least once in our lifetimes. Wish that were a William Tell quote.
BluPrint and Jade had no idea how to perform Stacey Tookey’s contemporary choreography, so Nigel had a brilliant suggestion: Why don’t they battle each other, thereby obligating the judges to keep one of them and setting up yet another season featuring a contestant who can only do one thing? It’s an enticing proposition. I really enjoy what BluPrint and Jade can do — and their battle was an inspired, saucy and undulation-heavy exhibition — but this show is just not designed for them. Picture a female partner trying to weave her way into one of BluPrint’s animation routines. She would be electrocuted and funk-stabbed, is the right answer. In a dramatic twist, Stacey Tookey decides both dancers will move on to the next round, hopefully because she wants to see them flail about in a Bollywood routine in front of a horrified America.
Amy Yakima Causes Adam Shankman to Yakety-Yak With Pride
The undisputed queen of the Vegas rounds delighted all of the judges, especially Adam, who sputtered that she was already in his Top 20. It’s pretty much guaranteed that Amy is in the Top 20, but that’s one foregone conclusion I’m cool with. The girl not only emanates star quality, but she has that air of effortlessness that makes the show so maddeningly watchable. You want to see if someone like this will break, but I bet that’s not the case. Bring on the live rounds.
What were your favorite moments?