Destination ‘So You Think You Can Dance’: Please don’t make them dance anymore
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(Don’t miss it! The last ‘So You Think You Can Dance’chat of the season kicks off at 1 p.m. on Thursday, right here on the Showtracker blog.)
‘Whoever’s standing at the end of this marathon recording deserves the crown,’ sighs ‘Dance’ titan Nigel Lythgoe at around 11 p.m. The audience has been in the studio since 5 p.m., and although the specifics of the backstage kinks aren’t clear from the bleachers, it’s apparent that this typically well-oiled machine is somehow malfunctioning.
During the lengthy breaks between segments, the audience amuses itself as best it can. At one point, two cheerleading squads enliven the crowd with an impromptu cheer-off. During another break, uber-choreographer Tice Diorio sings a song. ‘If I make a wrong note, just clap, okay?’ He pleads, before belting out Stevie Wonder’s ‘Isn’t She Lovely.’ After the ditty, Diorio holds out the microphone, proclaiming, ‘take this from me!’
There are more fan signs than ever tonight. There are staples, like, ‘Twitch, you’re my hero,’ silly ones, like ‘Don’t hatee on Katee’ and hilarious ones like, ‘Josh, call me!’ (complete with the hopeful lady’s telephone number). Stage manager Debbie Williams vetoes that last one, saying, ‘you’ll have everyone in America calling you and that number.’
The performances are just a formality tonight; the fan camps are already formed. If your favorite dances well tonight, you will vote for them; if your favorite dances poorly tonight, you will still vote for them. Thus, tonight’s show is more of a celebration than a competition; a celebration of making it into the finals. Which begs the question, if this is a celebration, why is the schedule so demanding?
As a viewer, is it necessary, or even desirable, to see every contestant dance with every other contestant? Each dancer learned seven numbers in preparation for tonight. Perhaps that’s why Katie Shean pantomimes stabbing herself in the stomach at the end of her solo.
We kick off the evening with Twitch Boss and Courtney Galiano’s hip-hop number, courtesy of Tabitha and Napoleon D’Umo. (I know it’s a little late to say this, but why does Courtney Galiano always dance with her hair down, whipping in front of her pretty face?) When the judges rave about the number, it becomes clear that ‘Dance’ is a sort of critical arc, with generous judging at the beginning and end of the season and plenty of venom in between. This is going to be a kind night.
We hear that Courtney Galiano will be dancing after the break, but worry not – this episode is shot totally out of order, so she has time to rest.
Between breaks, a tube-top clad girl from the audience dances on stage and accidentally flashes us, energizing the audience.
When Katee Shean and Joshua Allen get together for Wade Robson’s lyrical routine, magic is inevitable. This pair is the David Archuleta of ‘So You Think You Can Dance.’
Now on to Katee Shean and Courtney Galiano’s Broadway routine, in which they race to catch a trolly. After having my heart torn apart and put back together over the course of Katee Shean and Joshua Allen’s last dance, this number is sort of like eating a pound cake.
This is the first time we’ve seen the ladies dance together, and now I see why. When watching Katee Shean and Courtney Galiano dance together, comparison is inevitable, and comparison inevitably reveals how much sharper Katee is on every move.
When Joshua Allen and Twitch Boss team up for their Russian dance number, comparison is once again inevitable. Wisely, the pair acknowledges and toys with this fact, crafting a faux competition. This takes all of the tension out of the routine, and both men showcase their best abilities. They get a standing ovation. And they get the award for greatest costumes of the season from this blogger.
‘If you’re a fan of glitter like I am, this is ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ glitter,’ announces Tommy the warm-up guy, as he passes out snap bracelets, candy, glitter, t-shirts and more to keep the audience engaged. As the hours wear on, Cat Deeley even dips into Tommy’s candy bag between shots.
By the time Courtney Galiano and Joshua Allen’s jive rolls around, they’re wiped out. At the end of the number, Joshua, typically heralded as the ultimate gentleman, drops Courtney on her face and rushes away to make his final flip. Unless this is some part of the story that I missed, they’re just getting sloppy.
When Nigel Lythgoe criticizes the jive, the audience ‘boos’ him. Then, Nigel gets testy. ‘The whole thing about the program is I really like people to learn and get better,’ he snaps back. OK, fair enough, but doesn’t Nigel know that during every break, the warm-up guy encourages us to ‘boo’ if the judges say something we don’t like? Everybody needs a nap.
I’m curious how all this will look in the playback. Will the dancers’ mounting exhaustion come across on screen? Although Katee Shean and Twitch Boss masked it well, Courtney Galiano appeared to be on the brink of an emotional breakdown and Joshua Allen looked like a zombie for much of the evening. When a group yelled, ‘We love you, Joshua!’ he just stared into the audience with a glazed expression.
As always, dip into the comments section and tell me what you think. Let me know if the dancers looked wiped out to you, or if this is all in my head.
Then come join fellow ‘Dance’-tracker Claire Zulkey and me for our final chat, tomorrow at 1 p.m.
-- Stephanie Lysaght
(Photos courtesy Fox)