With eight brutal Vegas rounds crammed into a single So You Think You Can Dance two-hour episode, the carnage Wednesday was brutal, as several who once seemed so promising were sent home with barely an acknowledgement. In a couple of shocking cases, the fight was over before the dancer even took the stage.
The surprises began early. Remember Hampton Williams, the Exorcist guy from the Dallas audition? His initial solo was another showstopper, and Top 20 looked like a foregone conclusion. However, when it came time for him to learn choreography for the first time, in the hip-hop round, he proved to be completely unable to process someone else’s moves. He apologized to the judges and simply walked away.
Andre Rucker from Atlanta’s Dragon House crew made the same decision, while his colleague Boris Penton went ahead with the hip-hop routine and bombed out. The third member of Dragon House, Cyrus “Glitch” Spencer, managed to keep persevering despite waves of choreography that threatened to overwhelm him. Little by little, though, he seemed to settle into the SYTYCD spirit. At the end of the night, he was still standing.
The night’s most irritating cut was Danielle Dominguez, the bacon fan. She had already gotten through the jazz round, but came out to partner with someone else due to a shortage of female contestants, and promptly got kicked in the head. Several hours at the hospital forced her to miss the beginning of the group round rehearsals, and she and her group were obviously not fully prepared when it came time for them to perform. So as a reward for her good deed, Danielle was cut from the competition without so much as a “dance for your life” second chance that others received. Where’s the fairness?
Other storylines from the evening:
Special attention was paid to Alexa Anderson, the hot blonde who was the last cut before the Top 20 a season ago. The judges kept calling her out for lack of emotion, and when she finally started crying, Nigel Lythgoe seemed satisfied that she had learned her lesson. SYTYCD, where tears trump dancing!
Blonde ballroom teens Whitney Carson and Lindsay Arnold were both still alive at night’s end, and they look like they can handle the rigors of competition. But what was SYTYCD thinking, airing footage suggesting that the Vegas roommates are sleeping in the same bed?
Those who assumed Janelle Issis was featured in the auditions only because belly dancing is something of a novelty on this show may have jumped the gun – she looked excellent every time she was on screen, no matter what discipline was being featured.
Most emotionally draining moment of the night: Aubrey Clinger was riding high after receiving raves for conceiving her group’s routine, but was unceremoniously cut in the ballroom round despite a cha cha that looked decent enough. She cried about how it’s been impossible for her to find work as a dancer, a reminder that for so many of these young people, the exposure provided by SYTYCD can be a lifeline.
Pole dancing veteran Eliana Girard was barely mentioned on the night, but she’s still around and appeared to have little trouble. Also standing out: pixie Amelia Lowe, high-flying ballet guy and proofreader’s nightmare Chehon Wespi-Tschopp, and Joshua Alexander, who may or may not still be alive after landing flat on his back after a flip in rehearsal.
Rachel Applehans, who survived Salt Lake City on the basis of an over-the-top burlesque routine, had to dance for her life after the jazz round and went back to the same porny well. As Rachel was being let go, Debbie Allen admonished her to “put on more clothes and dance.” I have a feeling that any dancing she does professionally from now on will involve clothes coming off instead.
Next week, we learn the identity of the Top 20. Who are you hoping makes it?