‘So You Think You Can Dance’: The top 20 perform


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Of course it’s the job of the producers to hype the newest season of whatever show they work on as the ‘best yet,’ but they might be on to something with the fourth installment of ‘So You Think You Can Dance.’ Judge Mary Murphy noted that the dancers were pulled from a pool of more than 200 who made it to Las Vegas compared to the pool of 50 the first season, so of course it makes sense that the group of dancers is stronger. This particular crop of dancers seems like it has a lot more ability across genres -- while some dancers were stronger in their particular performances, nobody seemed completely out of their element: hip-hop dancer Twitch looked at home doing a Tyce D’orio Broadway routine and Comfort Fedoke lit up the stage doing a jive.

This leads to another, superficial strength this season has -- sex appeal. There are so many good-looking contestants this season, and putting them together in couples only brought out each other’s assets: Marquis Cunningham looked grand doing the smooth waltz with Susie Garcia, Kourtni Lind and Matt Dorame made a sexy duo during their leather-clad Matrix-y jazz number, Will Wingfield appeared sharp and masculine doing his tango with Jessica King, and Chelsea Traille is maybe the hottest woman on TV this summer.


If the dancing and competition is only going to get better from tonight on, then it’s going to be a great season -- there’s nothing like watching talented artists be pushed further by being forced to go out of their comfort zones, led by amazing mentors and choreographers. Not enough can ever be said about Mia Michaels and her work. She can take a concept as goofy as ‘Tim Burton’s wedding’ and make it heartbreakingly odd and beautiful and turn a dancer like Chelsie Hightower into a little bit of crumpled tissue paper.

The only problem with such a strong season is that it’s hard to find any couple to root for over any other -- it felt easier, somehow, last season to pick people who should go home before others but with more good dancers may come more sad sendoffs.

The only negative part of the evening was the clumsy advertising for chewing gum before and during ‘Twitchington’s’ performance. Whoever is handling the advertising of ‘SYTYCD’ this season is doing something of a clumsy job, between the gym and the fabric softener. It’s nice if the show is getting more advertisers, but why do the advertisers have more screen room than the sexy, sexy dancers?

-- Claire Zulkey