So You Think You Can Dance – Episode 5-7 Review

My summers would never be the same without So You Think You Can Dance and the sublime Cat Deeley. It’s Top 14 night and we have two hours ahead of us. Let’s get it started!

Cat pointedly asks Mia if her opinions on any dancers have changed in the past three weeks. Mia implies that she doesn’t hate Brandon anymore after she skewered him at the Top 20 announcements. I don’t exactly buy this. Mia doesn’t strike me as someone who forgets easily, but it probably wins her back a few fans.

The first couple up is Brandon and Janette with a Cha Cha by Jean-Marc Genereux. The performance is sassy. Even so, I get the feeling Nigel and Mary are showering them with praise just to prove there isn’t any bias. Nigel calls it the best Cha Cha in the show’s history. That good? Really? Mary puts them on the infamous Hot Tamale Train. Am I the only one getting tired of that shtick, plus the whole screaming thing? Mia says that the only reason she is so hard on Brandon is because he is so good, and Brandon sobs. Whether Mia means it or not, this exchange is cute.

Kupono and Kayla bring on an intense contemporary routine from the twisted mind of Sonya Tayeh. It’s almost a dance version of Buffy and Angel and I’m loving it. It’s beautiful and tragic and these two are working it. Every other week Kayla gives off a rather generic vibe, but this is one of the few times I like her work. The judges heap on the praise, and it’s for Kupono. I agree that he performed beautifully, and his unique style is suited to this type of routine. The judges feel that Kupono is growing before their very eyes. If that means more haunting performances like this one, I’m all for it.

I AM SO EXCITED. Or at least, I was before I saw the actual performance. Because here we got to see Evan (the show’s very own mini Gene Kelly) and Randi perform a Broadway routine by Joey Dowling. The choreography is killer and the show should really stick with this woman. I think they both did well, but I really expected Evan to knock it out of the park. Such a stylized routine needed a bit more punch. I still love the two, but I can’t deny that I am underwhelmed this week. Evan needs to step it up big time.

Now get this. In Brian Friedman’s Pop Jazz routine, Caitlin is an alien who has destroyed planet Earth and must now impregnate the last man alive, Jason. Um, right. It is not a Wade Robson routine, where there’s just enough whimsy to make it work. It was nuts. Caitlin was poured into a pleather body suit and wrapped in tin foil, with tin foil horns on her head to match. This routine was so weird that it is really unfair to the dancers. It’s not their fault they got a pile of poo to perform. Jason and Caitlin did their best with what they were given, that needs to be said. The judges do their best to not insult Brian’s work, saying the dancers were really committed to their roles. When will these two get a break?

Phillip and Jeanine get a Napoleon and Tabitha routine (from here on known as NappyTabs) for the second time in four weeks. They are literally chained together in this routine, and it is working for me. Just when NappyTabs start to get tired, they bust out with something new. Phillip and Jeanine both manage to dance it well even when there is such a limiting prop involved, and that is hard to do. The judges are pleased, although Mia was distracted by the chain. I would like to tell her that I was distracted by the giant mattress she brought onstage last season, but I doubt she’ll listen. I liked Phillip and Jeanine here; it’s the best hip hop routine so far this season.

Now get THIS. Melissa and Ade “pick” out of the hat a classical pas de deux danced en pointe by Thordal Christensen. There was no way that was random; they were the only pairing capable of even attempting routine. Definetely a set up. That being said, this routine was graceful, dreamlike, magical, beautiful, sensational. Ade was good, but this was The Melissa Show. Even if the moment was a bit forced – and probably something we won’t be seeing again anytime soon – I’m glad we got to see it. Absolutely gorgeous.

The show takes a break to talk about The Dizzy Feet Foundation. I love that the show has evolved from showcasing dancers to helping create dancers. It also allowed for Nigel to finally acknowledge that Katie Holmes will be appearing on the show in a Judy Garland tribute, news that’s been rumbling around the internets for a few weeks now. But someone explain to me, why is Miley Cyrus involved?

The show finishes with our new couple, Karla and Vitolio, dancing a Quickstep by Jean-Marc Genereux. This has always been one of the more difficult dances on the show, and Jean-Marc seems hell bent on selling it to the audience this time. Karla and Vitolio have a cool concept, a bunch of props, and a quick costume change to make it work. Ballroom is a personal favorite, and I enjoyed this routine. I agree with Nigel, there wasn’t enough bounce or joy in it, but it was still a valiant effort. I don’t think it’s enough to overcome of the stigma of the Quickstep.

Overall, it was a fine week for the show. But, dare I say, this season has been boring. Lots of technique, little star power. Hopefully the producers note this and do better for the 6th season.

BOTTOM 3 PREDICTIONS: Randi & Evan, Caitlyn & Jason, Karla & Vitolio.