So You Think You Can Dance – Episode 5-13 Review

It’s the 99th episode, and Ellen Degeneres is in the house!

This episode is a two hour spectacle with a lot of dancing (seriously? We need less solos and more one hour shows) and some funnies from Ellen. I’m glad she didn’t actually critique, and is just there to have some fun, crack some jokes, and be positive.

The opening number is a futuristic Contemporary/Hip Hop situation by Travis Wall. I like their day glo outfits and the theme, but I am not as impressed as I should be – they’re not dancing together, and while it may be the camera work, there were a few moments where I just did not know what was going on. Just a few dancers at a time and flailing limbs. It was fine, but not great.

EVAN & JANETTE: They begin with a Sonya Tayeh Jazz routine. It has a great story where they try and shut each other up. Mia’s right that Evan will never be the dark and twisty dancer that Sonya requires, but he handles it much better than I ever would have expected. Janette is still a crazy surprise. She is so good at everything she does – girl has definetely had some classical training. There’s no way she is just a Salsa street dancer. They return later with a Rumba – again, Evan is not getting the dances suited to his smiley style. Again, Evan surprises me with his attempt. He may not be on par with the rest, but he is growing. Nigel takes a moment to comment on his “droopy eyes” and comes across as a big meanie, but it’s Ellen to the rescue! She and Mia (!!) defend him and his adorable face.

BRANDON & JEANINE: They start off with a really bad Waltz. The judges blame the painfully slow music, but I think they could have done a better job regardless of the tempo. They came across as heavy and labored in their movements, and lacked the grace necessary to sell a slower Waltz. No matter, as they have a second dance to go. They bring it in the next round with THE. BEST. POP. JAZZ. EVER. Take that Brian Friedman! This is how it’s done. New choreographer Laurianne Gibson gave them a really strong routine and they worked it. It was so good that I didn’t even notice they were dancing to Jordin Sparks.

MELISSA & ADE: The couple was reunited tonight and trotted out an international style Cha Cha. Um, they’re not good at it. Melissa is uncomfortable and has poor hip action. She looks like a ballerina trying really hard and failing miserably. Ade is better, but not by much. Mia calls this his worst performance yet. As luck would have it, they return later with probably their best performance on the show. It’s a Tyce Diorio Contemporary piece, inspired by breast cancer. Now don’t throw stones at me or anything, but I hate it when routines come with emotional storylines. Very rarely, it can add to a performance, but most of the time you can never judge a routine objectively. Had we not seen that intro video, and Melissa had not been wearing that headscarf, noone would have known it was about cancer, and I doubt we would have thought twice about it. I don’t want to take anything away from them, Melissa and Ade did a wonderful job. Danced it beautifully, emotionally. But listen to the judges’ remarks one more time – they’re talking about the message of the routine, about cancer, not about the dancing. And when people vote, they will be voting for the message, not the dancers. Just a teensy bit unfair?

JASON & KAYLA: Their first routine was a bluesy Tyce Diorio Broadway number. LOVED IT. I love Broadway, and this was a particularly fabulous routine. Jason grew leaps and bounds, and while Kayla may not bring out deep emotions, she can sell this type of routine. Plus, I love seeing her grandparents in the audience. They are too cute. Mia says that Kayla should head to Broadway because she would win Tony after Tony. Um, right. She’s good, but Tony good? Based on her inability to emotionally connect to audiences, I doubt her acting ability. Way to lay it on thick, Mia. Their second routine is a Shane Sparks Hip Hop about a zombie transforming a schoolgirl into his dead mistress. Sounds weird on paper, but it’s an awesome routine, with just enough macabre to make it work. The best Hip Hop of the season, even though that’s not saying much.

SOLOS: The most boring part of the show. Every once in a while we get something really brilliant – remember Will channeling James Brown in S4? Easily one of the best (and most entertaining) male solos ever on the show. But most of the time it’s a giant snoozefest. Evan’s solos are still great, but looking evermore the same. Janette does this weird Contemporary-meets-Miami thing which she should never attempt again. Brandon kills it, and in my opinion, is the best male soloist currently on the show.

BOTTOM 4 PREDICTIONS: I think Janette will be in the bottom, mostly due to that terrible solo and being partnered with Evan. Jason and Kayla had a great night, but I don’t think it was enough to keep them out of the bottom. Last week I was right with all my guesses, let’s see if I’m still with America’s pulse.

Cannot wait for tomorrow’s 100th show extravaganza!