Brandon and Janette dancing... for their lives.
Brandon and Janette dancing... for their lives.

This is the Top 8 performance episode, season 5. Air date 7/22/09.

I paused my grueling True Blood recap (it’s really happening, I swear… and next week I’ll be more on top of it) to bring you a taste of the addictive summer reality TV show, “So You Think You Can Dance.” In my family, we refer to it simply as “Schmance.” That’s how we roll.

My roommate, the lovely proprietor of Read.Watch.Buy, joined me on the couch. So that’s the “we” of it all, in case you’re curious.

Now, let me preface this by saying: We’re in the top 8 now. All of the dancers are great. I love this show. The only duet I danced today was when my socks slipped on the kitchen floor and I grabbed the fridge handle for balance. If any dance was boring to me, it wasn’t because the dancers are bad dancers. These dancers have been “dancing for their lives” every week. (The losers, I guess we have to assume, were murdered…?)

Let me also preface this by saying:  This show is full of malaprops and crazy talk like you wouldn’t believe (unless you watch it– then you know exactly what I’m talking about). I am going to do my best to highlight the crazy.

Sorry, group dance. I watched you, but I have nothing to say. Consider yourself skipped.

1st couples dance: Evan (he’s one of my Tasty TV Morsels) and Janette have a jazz routine with Sonya. The theme is “Shut Up.” No, really. I’m not being sarcastic. Evan says, “There’s definitely some moments that are a little awkward in my body. I’m not used to this style of jazz. I’m used to jazz hands and smiles.” I really thought that Evan was straight, but he makes some very bi-curious remarks in tonight’s show. Jazz hands and smiles? Right. And also, “…moments that are awkward in my body”? Is he hitting puberty, or what? Best moment of the dance? When they circle each other, shoulders back. Funniest part? A long spin during which Janette’s crotch is right up in Evan’s face. That might have made him feel a little awkward in his body. He’s like a character in a “Your Changing Body” book.

Of course, the judges talk about the lucky fact that Evan and Janette are the shortest dancers. Nigel calls them the “two little stars of this season.” (Janette is actually shorter than Evan, whew.) Mary says: It “could have been more gutsier… rougher.” More gutsier? Right. Rougher? Mary is all about the sex. Nigel tells Mary to shut up, even though he should really be telling guest host Ellen DeGeneres to shut up. I generally love her, but she only says about two relevant things the whole night. The rest is all corny jokes about nailing things. Mary calls Nigel an “English muffin.” Mia says to Evan: “You have this little mush face that you want to just chew on your face. Because you’re so adorable, you will never be a dark twisted freakish dancer that Sonya requires.” I think that’s probably better for him, overall. Jeanette is Mia’s favorite, except that Mia says favorite at least four times in a row.

Kayla’s Solo: She dances to Imogen Heap. Other than that, it didn’t grab me. Funny story: My sisters dance, and they have a dancewear catalog full of pictures of Kayla in her dance-modeling glory. I wonder if she gets to keep any of the bedazzled “Dance to Live” shirts.

2nd couples dance: Brandon and Jeanine waltz to “May it Be.” Their costumes seem all wrong to me. Jeanine looks vaguely like Belle from “Beauty and the Beast,” and Brandon looks too uptight. His costume has stiff 1940s (?) tailoring. I wish they wore something more reminiscent of water or clouds, since this piece makes me think of natural elements. They should have used Kayla and Kupono’s old waltz costumes.

Jason’s solo… happened.

Cat plugs the Top 10’s nationwide tour of 40 cities. I really want to know if they’re getting paid, or if this is just some sort of indentured servitude deal. I have a feeling that they sign their lives and their fortunes away when they fill out the paperwork at the tryouts for these shows.

3rd couples dance: Ade and Melissa are reunited… yay? Tony Meredith and Melanie Lapatin teach them a cha-cha. The cha-cha was okay, but I just want to take a moment to talk about Melanie. Remember a few seasons ago when she danced the solo with super-hot Pasha because his partner was sick? And how she worked it, even though she doesn’t exactly look like the twiggy 18-year-old contestants? Ever since then, she has been my hero. Courage. Also, ever since then she’s gotten credit as co-choreographer. Coincidence? Cat quips that Ade manages to sizzle, despite the fact that he’s wearing “red shoes with heels.” Mia counters that it’s Ade’s worst performance all season.

The best thing about Janette’s solo (for me) is her purple dress (I love purple), even though it’s a bit pageant-y. Also, she dances to a Celine Dion song. Menos puntos?

4th couples dance: Jason and Kayla do a Broadway routine with Tyce. Something about Tyce usually rubs me the wrong way, but it’s one of the better Broadway pieces I’ve seen on this show. Nigel says that Jason reminded him of Gene Kelly… watch out, Evan! Jason is eyeing your throne! The judges continue to love Kayla. Mary makes a guttural noise in her throat while talking about Jason. She wants him so hard. Then she produces a Hot Tamale Train whistle. I assumed that Nigel gave her the whistle to stop her from screaming, but she screams anyway. Mia tells Jason to work on his upper body… I’m sure Mary would be more than willing to spot him. Mia also tells Kayla that if she can sing and dance she’ll take Broadway by storm. I tend to agree.

Ade dances his solo. He’s always good, but I don’t think anything will top his Windowdipper solo from two weeks ago, in my book. Cat channels her inner Russell Brand  when she returns to the stage and declares, “Two backflips in one show. I shake you warmly by the hand, sir.”

Round 2

1st couples dance: Janette and Evan take on a Tony/Melanie rhumba. Janette says, “I’m going to get that inner Latino stallion to come out of Evan.” I am mildly disturbed. Evan adds, “He’s in there somewhere. He’s definitely gonna come out on that stage, though. Evan? No. That’s not Evan. But it is. It is.” For the second time tonight, I’m feeling a sort of gay/identity crisis vibe. Is Evan about to have a coming out party?

This just might be the slowest rhumba in history, and they’re dancing it to Kris Allen’s cover of “Heartless.” Ugh. Halfway through roomie and I started talking about all of the more interesting forms of Latin dancing, which led to a conversation about Gilles Marini and “Dancing With the Stars.” All of which was more interesting than the dance, at least to us. Nigel echoed what I said when the dance first started: This is an “exceptionally hard style to get votes with.” Then he made the comment which would launch a thousand self-esteem pep-talks: “There just didn’t appear to be anything passionate in your face, [Evan]… Your heavy eyelids make you look drowsy.” Hoo boy.

For the first time all night, Ellen made a few relevent comments. “I love your face, Evan… I love your eyes. The problem with this town is everyone’s face starts looking alike.” Mia added her own two cents, bringing tears to Evan’s controversy-laden eyes: “Not everybody in this world has to be a sexpot. Not everyone has to be stunningly perfect. We are all perfect the way God made us… What you bring, not a lot of people can. We celebrate you, we love you.” Mia added that she wasn’t sure she wanted to see Evan be sexy, and that he pulled it off, but with a “Zoolander face.” Evan smiled and said, “A little Blue Steel.”

The whole Evan’s eyes debate made me feel a little squeamish because I have hooded eyes, and it’s definitely a pretty strong Jewish trait, or at least an Eastern European one (Evan has a Polish last name, my family comes from Russia). Couple that with the “Zoolander” comment, and I think Evan was basically accused of looking too Jewish. Sometimes Nigel and Cat, being Brits, are a little less PC than the American judges, and don’t understand what they might be implying. So I was glad Ellen and Mia stood up for him (they know a thing or two about being labeled and put into boxes, one would think). I’m not saying that we should all be PC all the time, but there must have been some underlying anti-something-ism going on, because Nigel’s comment definitely struck Ellen, Mia, and me in a weird way. (Also, I thought Caitlin looked sleepy or bored all the time and nobody ever called her on it.)

Melissa’s solo… I liked the song, I liked the dance… her costume was very similar to the one Janette wore in the first couples dance of the night. Wardrobe!

2nd couples dance: Brandon and Jeanine did Pop Jazz, choreographed by Laurieann Gibson. She’s new to the show, and definitely made a big first impression on me with her insane words of “wisdom.” Before the dance, they showed a montage of Laurieann saying the following lines. It was like a mash-up of every insane cliche ever spouted on a reality show and/or by an artiste.

-“There’s no story, the story is you. The movement is epic but it’s secondary. Don’t dance it, feel it!”
-“If I can help prepare the soldier, then the chance at victory is real.”
-“No thinking allowed in this room!”
-“Heavy is the crown, Jeanine!”
-“I don’t want to feel sorry for you, I want to help you!” (I didn’t come here to make friends!)

Turns out that the dance has a military theme. In retrospect, that makes some of those trumped-up lines about 3% less crazy.

Nigel is pleased. “This is the flattest night I’ve ever experienced on SYTYCD up until now,” he says. He commends Jeanine for keeping up with with Brandon. That strikes me as odd, since Brandon and Jeanine have very similar styles of dance, and Jeanine is amazing. Ellen steps up her commentary once more: “You make it appealing to join some type of armed forces. Those are good-looking uniforms.” Indeed, their uniforms are incrediby revealing. Don’t ask, don’t tell! Mary puts them on the Hot Tamale Train, even though the train is generally reserved seating for spicy ballroom dances. But really, what do I know? Mary Murphy is the conductor on the Hot Tamale Train. She can put whoever she wants on it. And also… Oh yeah, it’s just a TV show. The Hot Tamale Train isn’t real. It’s a lie. It’s people!

Mia talks about how Laurieann is her sister because she doesn’t move unless it’s from her soul, and Laurieann cries. It’s a Laurieann Love Train, and I am not exactly on board. Also, Laurieann and Mia are not really sisters. They are soul sisters. Maybe. And also? It seems really exhausting to always have to be moving from your soul. Mia says that she loves Brandon now, even though at the Top 20 reveal she pretty much gave him the speech that Sue gave to Kelly at the end of season one of “Survivor” (the only season I watched). In case you missed that speech, here it is: “… if I would ever pass you along in life and you are laying there dying of thirst, I would not give you a drink of water. I would let the vultures take you and do whatever they want with you, no ill regrets.”

Mia basically gave Brandon her Mia-version of that speech, and now she is crying with joy because her “sister” just choreographed him in a beautiful dance and she loves him, but he is not her favorite favorite favorite favorite, because that is Janette. Brandon better get on the Mia Train and not ask any questions. (Ooh, speaking of awkward… take the Jew stuff, take the train stuff, take the “dancing for your life” idea, mix it all together… But Brandon is not doing a deep reading of potential anti-Semitic and/or Holocaust-ish undertones on SYTYCD. He’s not an undercover thesis-writer. He is all smiles.)

Evan drops his hat during his solo, but he’s still adorable. He looks 1940s in the way that Brandon shouldn’t have during that waltz. He looks like a paperboy on a street corner in NYC in the 1940s. “Extry, extry, read all about it! Our boys over in Europe are dancin’ for their lives!” For the record, those eyes work perfectly for his style. He looks dreamy.

Jeanine dances her solo to the song “Let the Drummer Kick,” a moody favorite of mine. The solo is so amazing that we watch it twice. It’s one of my favorite solos on this show, ever. Go to the YouTubes and check it out. One thing, though… has Jeanine run out of solo outfits? Haven’t we seen this one before? Can we chip in and buy her a new one? I love her and she deserves a new costume. I have a ridiculous girl-crush on Jeanine. I want to be her for a day. Freaky Friday!

3rd couples dance: Melissa and Ade do an “emotional contemporary piece” by Tyce. It’s a story about breast cancer. When the lights first come up, I think that Ade is wearing scrubs, but it turns out to be an open shirt. The whole song, I am wondering if he’s supposed to be the husband, or an angel, or what. Melissa was a little too convincing as a cancer patient. Ballerinas, man. I thought the dance was good, but the judges were in puddles over it. They could barely choke out their feedback. Mia summed it up best: “It’s really not about the dancing.” Even the audience members were crying.

We were a little bit baffled by the sobs, so we rewound and watched the dance again. Once again, we thought it was good, but not amazing enough for some of the comments. Nigel said it was a shoo-in for an Emmy nod (Emmy 2010, that is). The way the judges were talking, you would think that nobody had heard of breast cancer before, and that this dance was the only thing being done about breast cancer, like, ever. Settle down, kids. I am not hating on breast cancer. We are probably all going to die of cancer of the future, but this dance, to me, was just a dance. Bottom line is, I guess you had to be there, because we were not crying.

But every season there’s at least one emo dance with a message that makes the judges cry, and I always sit on the sidelines shrugging. Sorry. I cry at everything, too. It’s weird.

FOX is really pushing “More To Love.” I’m sure I’ll talk about it, at some point. I don’t like the whorish nature of dating shows. I wouldn’t want to date a guy who’s dating a gaggle of other girls seriously and simultaneously. Oh, and I wouldn’t date a guy on national television. Other than that, sign me up.

After the commercial, everyone has dried his/her tears and Brandon dances a great solo with lots of strobe light. He is shirtless and Cat calls him a “racehorse,” which also awks me out. I work on a network TV show, so I have a little alarm in my head. They installed it during my first day on the job. Spoiler alert!

4th couples dance: Shane Sparks is back to choreograph a hip hop routine for Kayla and Jason. I saw Shane on Kathy Griffin this week! At Roscoe’s! (Uh oh, the alarm is going off again.) The routine has a zombie theme, which makes me nervous because we’re going to see the zombie-fabulous Ramalama dance tomorrow night. Jason interviews that he hopes to “get people to cry and run away from their TV sets,” which seems counterproductive, since those same people are supposed to want to vote for him. The routine is really cool, and not Ramalama-y at all.

Nigel loves on the routine, and says that he’s been disappointed with hip hop this year, until now. Is that a burn on the other hip hop choreographers? They got served! Time for a dance battle to the death! (Awk?)

Jason bears an eerie resemblance to Ryan Seacrest in the zombie makeup. (Is that Ryan’s secret? Er, Ryan’s Seacret.) Mary says, re: Jason’s look, “I think my little puppy-dog got bit by the rabies.” Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I present to you: “Bit by the rabies.” That’s exhibit everything-you-need-to-know. Please vote guilty.

That concludes tonight’s episode.

Who will go tomorrow?

Will cancer save Melissa from being terminated? (See what I did there? I’m taking my hooded eyes and getting on the Hot Tamale Train to Hell.)

Kayla, Jason, Brandon, and Jeanine seem safe based on tonight’s performances… but you never do know!

Tomorrow is the 100th episode, featuring… Katie Holmes. Great. Will I recap it? Only time will tell. I am looking into my crystal ball and predicting: No.


Recappa the Rappa


2 thoughts on “Big Fancy Recap: SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE

  1. Bull’s eye alright!
    As for the breast cancer routine: I didn’t cry either… I mean, I thought it was really beautiful and stuff… but to go as far as CRYING over it… And I, too, am a pretty easy cryer…
    LOL, loved your remarks about Evan (my favorite); he’s such a star, that kid! And there’s nothing wrong with his eyes (they’re unbelieably adorable!) nor his height! (I’m s shortie myself… I’m probably Janette’s height…).
    And, oh yeah: I’d like to be Jeanine for a day! She’s awesome, I love her!

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