Well alrighty then, here we are at the last week with our established couples. After this all the surviving dancers will be split up and be repaired with a different partner AND a different All-Star dancer from previous seasons each week. So this time everything counts. This time the performances will serve as a farewell to what in some cases have proven to be remarkable partnerships.
Welcome…to SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE!
The group routine that kicks of tonight’s festivities is a Bollywood number by veteran choreographer Nakul Dev Mahajan, set to the song “Kata Kata” from the RAAVAN soundtrack. Bollywood is almost always fun to watch, even when it’s not done particularly well. Fortunately the Top 14 dancers all do particularly well. It’s fast, hyperkinetic, and there are interesting things for every one of them to do. For once I don’t feel like the group number is playing favorites.
As all the dancers sweat and wheeze their exhausted way off the stage, host extraordinaire Cat Deeley reintroduces us to our judges. Two bits of good news tonight: first, Cat has sex-hair again; second, Carmen Electra is MIA (as in not there, not as in she’s secretly the singer MIA… oh nevermind.)
Welcome… to SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE!
Due to issues with our local FOX broadcast, I actually didn’t get to see the first few minutes of this episode. Sadly this means I missed what sounds to have been a pretty great group number by the Top 7 guys; something about the seven stages of grief, choreographed by Justin Giles and set to the song “Prague” by Damien Rice. And video of the performance is frustratingly missing from YouTube, so I just have to take everyone’s word for how great it was.
Cat Deeley, adorable as ever in a baby blue China doll dress, introduces us to our four, yes FOUR judges this week. Joining the usual suspects of Executive Producer Mr. Nigel Lythgoe and Hot Tamale Train conductor Mary Murphy is, for some strange reason, Carmen Electra. In light of how successful the guest judges have been up to this point I TRY to be open minded. But she happens to be seated right next to the ever-lovin’ Travis Wall in the fourth judges chair, which makes Ms. Electra seem even more pointless. Travis becomes, as far as I know, the first contestant-cum-choreographer-cum-judge in the history of the series. And (spoiler) he’s just as great at this as he is at everything else. Bastard.
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…
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!
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.
Less than a week away from the premier of So You Think You Can Dance Season 8, I cannot keep my feet still…metaphorically speaking. My intention this season will be to post reviews here each week (we’ll see how that works out for me), but to kick things off I wanted to list my Top 10 favorite performances from seasons past. There’s just one problem…well, two actually. First of all, I only started watching the series with Season 4. And second, I’m horrible at making lists. So what would have been a Top 10 of the series will now be my Top 15 from Seasons 4-7.
The criteria I used to pick these performances include: originality and creativity of the choreography; musical inspiration; likability of the dancers; and something I’m just going to call the wow factor, which mostly has to do with how emotionally moved I was by the piece, either to cheer or cry or whatever.
It’s practically impossible to find good quality videos of past seasons for this show, so everything I’m including below carries with it the disclaimer inherent in all YouTube content: some is crystal clear and HD quality; most is average, low-res video; a few are truly crappy, pixelated abortions. Enter at your own risk.
So without further ado…
Paul’s Top 15 So You Think You Can Dance Performances!