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Destination ‘So You Think You Can Dance’: The best episode of the season. Period.

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Well folks, the numbers are in and it’s official: Tonight’s episode of “So You Think You Can Dance” was the most exhilarating and engrossing of the season. Here are the reasons why.

A respectable omission

Paula Abdul was in the audience, and yet they didn’t even subject us to the video for “Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow.” Add 10 points.

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Cat’s a giver. (Add five points)

Flawless humanoid Cat Deeley knows it can’t be easy to sit in the audience and gaze on her perpetual perfection week after week.

That’s why this week, Cat was kind enough to don a gown that looked like it was designed by the Lauren Conrad collection. Thanks, girl!

You can never be too rich or too thin

This week, the usual two hours of performances were mercifully trimmed down to one.

And one hour was plenty! The show was thinner, time-wise, but content-wise, it was richer than ever. Tonight’s show wins five points for brevity.

The costumers hit a home run

I knew they had it in ‘em! This week, during Courtney Galiano and Mark Kanemura’s waltz, Court was outfitted in a creamy, gorgeous, silky gown. And there was nary a sequin in sight! Plus five points for learning restraint!

Correction

It turns out, the spare beauty of Courtney Galiano’s dress did not actually result from a moment of uncharacteristic restraint on the part of the costumer. The seamstress was just saving all the fringe, sequins and fluorescent-green fabric for the costume Chelsie Hightower wore in her solo. Minus four for tricking us.

Plus four points: ‘Shankers’ is back!

Love him or hate him, nobody triggers Nigel Lythgoe’s wicked wit quite like Adam Shankman.

When Cat Deeley referred to Adam Shankman as “Shankers” tonight, Lythgoe said “Shankers” sounded like a mysterious illness. “‘How have you been this week?’ ‘Oh, I’ve had a bad case of the Shankers’” joked Nigel.

So, that’s why Mark Kanemura stayed. (Plus six!)

Many viewers – myself included – have not always been totally sold on Mark Kanemura. Tonight, however, that wacky jazz number seemed tailor-made for Mark. I challenge even the most staunch Mark-hater to tell me who could have danced Sonia’s choreography better.

Perfect pairings

The evening wins another two points for perfect pairings. Mark Kanemura and Courtney Galiano connected instantly, and on a strictly superficial level, they looked perfect together.

And Katee Shean and Joshua Allen? Um, don’t get me started. (Hey, two couples outta three perfect ain’t bad…)

‘The things we do for art!’

Will Wingfield’s James Brown impersonation must have made quite an impression on Twitch Boss, because this week, Twitch came out with a little gimmick of his own.

Now, I didn’t go gaga over Twitch’s golden grill bit, but I’m adding points here for the moment after the solo; when Cat took the spit-soaked accessory out of Twitch’s mouth and put it into her own. Five points. “Four real.”

Star-crossed lovers

Two points automatically go to the reunion of golden couple Joshua Allen and Katee Shean. Plus, they get 10 more point for making me cry with their Romeo-and-Juliet-inspired contemporary number.

‘Hey Tyce, this is the first time I’m putting the choreographer on the hot tamale train!’

I’ll give a point to the Scream Queen herself for having the good sense to put Tyce Diorio on the hot tamale train after he choreographed Katee and Joshua’s contemporary number. That dance made me believe in love.

Minus three for questionable judging.

Oh, come now! Twitch Boss looked out of his element to the point of nausea during his mambo with Chelsie Hightower. Why were the judges so forgiving?

Leave Sanjaya alone

Nigel Lythgoe and stage manager Debbie Williams lost a point for mocking poor “American Idol”-hopeful Sanjaya Malakar between segments.

“Nigel said our guest dancer is Sanjaya!” joked Debbie. “He’s gonna do an interpretive dance with the crying girl!”

“It’s a Bollywood routine!” Nigel replied.

Stop bugging Mary

There was a truly persistent bug whizzing around the judges’ heads for the entire taping, severely annoying one Mary Murphy, who finally yelped, “It’s landed on me at least four times!”

No points for this one. Just thought it was funny.

Adam Shankman opens up

Adam won a point when he harkened back to his dance days with Tyce Diorio. Apparently, the pair danced together to “The Little Mermaid’s” “Under the Sea” at an awards’ ceremony.

“I was a Lycra-clad flipping pirate,” recalled Adam.

Joshua Allen’s coming out party

We knew he was a strong and loyal partner, but tonight Joshua Allen also got to be the center of attention for once, playing a matador in a Paso Doble.

The way he dragged Katee Shean across the floor at the end of the dance showed his fierce domineering side, and the way he smiled at her sheepishly after the song was over showed that he’s still the gentle Joshua we fell in love with! Plus five for the many sides of Joshua Allen.

The MM curse

“I’m gonna keep yellin’ till everyone in America hears me,” Mary Murphy remarked after lavishing praise on her new favorite, Joshua Allen. Careful, girl… Remember what happened when you started raving about Will Wingfield like that?

Just for fun...

go to the comments section again and tell me what you think Mark Karemura’s solo should be called this week. I call it “stripper in a strait jacket.”

Questionable judging: Part II (Minus two.)

Really? Chelsie Hightower and Twitch Boss killed that hip-hop routine? Then what was I watching?

So, now that the numbers have been tallied, it’s official. Tonight was the best night of the season. Yell at me in the comments if I’m forgetting any great moments, or if you prefer, yell at me this Thursday at 1 p.m., when I lead a “Dance”-chat with fellow “Dance”-addict Claire Zulkey.

And as always, please chime in and tell me who’ll be sent packing this Thursday. It’s sure to be the most gut-wrenching elimination ceremony yet!

Till then,

Stephanie Lysaght


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