So You Think You Can Gobble: 8.06, “Week One: Top 20 Performance”

And with that, Season 8 of SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE is out of the gate! There’s a lot of ground to cover in Week One, so let’s get to it.

First thing’s first, we have our first guest judge: Megan Mullally. I’m not going to lie to you, I was extremely skeptical of what I thought was “stunt casting” here, and I expected it to devolve into some kind of comedy schtick. But as it turns out she was fantastic. For one thing, she actually has a background in dance, so she knows what she’s talking about, more or less. But beyond that she was just really focused on giving sincere critiques. She paid attention to the dancers, took notes, commented on the routines in an intelligible way. I’ve gone from being skeptical to actually willing to see her back on the judges panel again at some point.

Next, Cat Deeley (with some spectacularly hot “sex hair”) breaks the bad news to us that we already have an injury. Contemporary dancer Mitchell Kelly strained his elbow during rehearsals and on doctor’s orders must sit out this round of the competition. He’s in the audience, visibly upset. I’m having uncomfortable flashbacks to last season and the tragic loss of Alex. Here’s hoping Mitchell makes a speedy recovery and gets a chance to prove himself next week.

And finally it’s time to introduce the couples. The Top 20 are now paired up into ten couples who will perform together for the first few weeks of the competition. Each week viewers will vote for their favorite couples, and the three that get the fewest votes will then give solo performances, from which the judges will decide one guy and one girl to send home. If the guy and girl eliminated are from different couples, the remaining halves of those couples will be paired together and the show will go on.

Make sense? Good.

Ladies and gentlemen, he first couple for Season 8 is…

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So You Think You Can Gobble: 8.05, “Green Mile – Top 20 Revealed”

We’ve made it! Weeks of auditions and a brutal, bloodthirsty Vegas callback elimination process have lead us here, to the fabled “green mile.” In seasons past this has meant a sort of morbid and drawn out episode of the remaining hopefuls taking the long walk down the video-lined hallway, reminiscing about their journey to this point before facing down the judges for what may or may not be the last time ever. It’s emotional, and sometimes awkward, and often manipulative. But that’s always been part of the fun.

However, this year we get a new format. Tonight we start out on the brand new Season 8 stage, in front of a live audience and the line of judges, and the stunning-as-ever Cat Deeley. As the final dancers are chosen we get to see them perform full choreographed routines on the stage. It’s actually a nice change, in my opinion. This gets us to the performance element of the season a bit quicker than we normally would have. As one of our readers put it on Twitter last night, “Less angst. More dance.” Amen.

And so, for the first time this season…

Welcome… to SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE!

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So You Think You Can Gobble: 8.04, “Las Vegas Callbacks”

Wow. So… that happened.

If you’ve never watched So You Think You Can Dance before, you may be unaware of just how brutal the Las Vegas Callbacks are. I passionately love this show and even I forget the pain and suffering involved in this stage of the competition. Basically, dancers that make it through the initial audition process are all brought to Vegas, where they are put through three grueling days of physical and emotional torture. If there were any question whatsoever in your mind about whether or not these kids are world class athletes that put most professional sports legends to shame, this episode should banish all doubt.

Far too much happens in the Vegas phase at far too fast a pace for me to even hope to be thorough in my recap here. There was good, bad, AND ugly tonight, and I’m still a little dazed and confused frankly. But I’ll see what I can cobble together for y’all.

Cue music.

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