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‘So You Think You Can Dance’: Nearly everyone loses in Vegas

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We’re so close, ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ fans! Close to learning our top 20 dancers, close to auditions being over, close to the meat of the season! With 172 dancers in Las Vegas for callbacks this season, it seemed as if there were more talented dancers than ever to whittle down, but unfortunately, with so many, it’s hard to feel connected to anyone in particular until the main group is introduced.

The dancers who made it to Vegas were put through several circles of hell, all the while being judged by Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, Mia Michaels, Lil C, Adam Shankman and a somewhat crabby-looking Debbie Allen. First, the dancers performed solos and 45 were immediately cut. One of the dancers highlighted was Tony Bellissimo, who performed to ‘Somebody’s Watching Me’ with revealing pictures of Nigel taped up on his briefcase and in his jacket. The judges loved it, but I found it gimmicky and not full of substance. Though the episode focused on him repeatedly through the other rounds, I never got over this impression, so we’ll see if he proves himself worthy of the top 20, if he makes it there.

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After the solos, the dancers learned hip-hop from Tabitha and Napoleon and their hats. This round saw 37 more dancers cut, almost including Gabi Rojas, one of the first dancers to audition this season. The judges loved her solos, but she couldn’t impress them through the choreography. Through the judges gave her several chances, I was ready to see her cut, because the show is all about dancers performing genres they’re not used to. Gabi eventually got a late ax.

Also cut was Natalie Reid, the redheaded roommate of Katee Shean from last season who just barely missed making the top 20. Poor Natalie probably was at a disadvantage this season since she’d still be compared to Katee, and unfortunately she just didn’t have the same spark, especially not in choreography.

The dancers were next put into groups, given music and told to choreograph a piece for the next day. On ‘American Idol’ this translates into delicious over-the-top drama, but on ‘SYTYCD’ no strife was evident at this point, even when the tapper Erik ‘Silky’ Moore claimed there was a problem with his group. It was clear that his group wasn’t working well together, but there was none of the crying and stomping off that you see on ‘Idol.’ The lack of fireworks didn’t mean that the group dances were all great, however: Adam Shankman’s critique of one group was merely, ‘Barf.’

Then the dancers were given an even more difficult challenge: choreography by Mia Michaels. The Broadway brothers, Evan and Ryan Kasprzak, made the cut though, and Mia was so charmed by Evan that she asked him to flea-hop his way around and off the stage, which he obliged.

That wasn’t enough, though! The remaining girls and boys were split up and given ‘West Side Story’ choreography by Tice Diorio, which was fun to watch. The only thing I took away from it was that if you want to be eliminated after dancing to ‘Cool,’ the one thing a guy has to do is look tired for one second.

Finally, FINALLY, after all that cuckoo-crazy dancing, the remaining 32 dancers — 32, down from 172! — performed one last solo, and tomorrow we finally find out top 20. Then the real fun begins.

— Claire Zulkey

(Photo: Fox)


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