SYTYCD Season 12 Top 18

Group Routine: African Jazz?, choreo by Reina Hidalgo & Asiel Hardison

“Let the Groove Get In” by Justin Timberlake

Kate: Whodathunk JT would provide the music for an African Jazz routine on So You Think You Can Dance? (Consequently, he was in my dream last night, and fell in love with me.)

Erica: I know you disagree with me, Kate, but one of the things I enjoy about this show is that the songs can be unexpected given the dance genre. Sometimes it doesn’t work, but I like it. I’m not totally sure this was African Jazz, though. Isn’t African Jazz performed barefoot?

Kate: It had a slightly African Jazz feel to it, but perhaps it was really just straight Jazz. It was enjoyable but not particularly well danced. Watching that 10-year anniversary special last week made me mad, because the dancers used to start at a much higher level.

Erica: I have not watched the special yet (I know, I’m a terrible person, or a terrible SYTYCD blogger) but I did not feel that this routine was particularly well-danced or well-choreographed. It wasn’t bad, exactly, but it didn’t look any better than your high school dance team’s routine.

Kate: It was especially messy when they broke into partners — perhaps because THEY ARE NOT GETTING ANY PARTNER TRAINING THIS SEASON.

Erica: I hope they do some traditional ballroom at some point. I do like the change-up this season, but I’d like to see, you know, a Fox Trot or something.

Kate: Anyway…

Cat Deeley’s Outfit

Kate: MUCH better. There’s the Cat we know and love!

Ian: She’s eight feet tall, but there is a grace to her elephantiasis.

Erica: I feel like there is no “but” necessary in that sentence. I find her generally adorable.

Kate: I adore her hair like that, absolute perfection. And she’s SO TAN but in a natural-looking way.

Erica: Yes. Yes especially to the hair, which is in my very favorite Cat configuration.

Kate: The dress has no shape but she can pull that off. V. Gwyneth.

Erica: I am into stark white lately. I approve.

Alexa (stage), Derek (stage) & JaJa (street): Contemporary, choreo by Stacey Tookey

“All Waters” by Perfume Genius

Kate: These three actually work really well together, and JaJa looks lovely dancing contemporary, despite needing to be a wee bit longer in some areas. Am warming up to her.

Erica: I think JaJa is quite a performer. Derek, I feel like, I never recognize from minute to minute. He’s like an actor on The CW; the minute I’m not looking at him, I forget I’ve ever seen him. Alexa is very good, but she’s suffering from that surface-ness that all the girls from Utah seem to suffer from.

Kate: However, I think we need to stop with the stories about the routine. Might we not have gotten “veteran” from Derek WEARING A MILITARY UNIFORM? Honestly.

Erica: I thought the problem here was that Derek had this very literal costume on, and then the girls were just in nighties. And there was nothing about the dance itself that spoke to “single mother” or “leaving an abusive relationship” or, for that matter, “veteran,” so he could have just been in standard contemporary pajamas, too, and they could have been just about the general concepts of strength and helping each other through the terrible parts of life, and that would have been fine.

Kate: Yeah, that too.

Erica: Oh, and, after Cat cruelly faking Derek out, these three are all safe.

Jim (stage), Megz (street) & Moises (stage): Hip-Hop, choreo by Jaquel Knight

“Whuteva” by Remy Ma

Kate: I had a lot of problems with this one, the first of which being Megz lip synching the whole thing, the second of which being the choreography. It REALLY didn’t work for them.

Erica: Did you hear that Jaquel Knight was responsible for the choreography on “Single Ladies”? I was not so impressed with him in the rehearsal footage, and I was not so impressed with the choreography. It was, again, pretty much like your really good high school dance team.

Kate: This was three zillion times worse than the “Single Ladies” dance. Moises was off the whole time, and Jim was way better in last week’s hip-hop than this one. It was just too ratchet for the two stage dancers.

Erica: Why did Jim get hip-hop twice? They should put me in charge of this part of the show; I would make sure it was very carefully mixed up.

Kate: And Paula Abdul literally has trouble getting words out of her mouth. Listening to her makes me SO MAD.

Erica: The judges this year are more or less useless. When Nigel is the only one I want to hear from, we have a problem.


Erica: Team Christina Applegate.

Kate: She was supposed to be on Watch What Happens Live last week, and I submitted a question to Andy Cohen on Facebook about her becoming a permanent judge on the show, but then she bailed, and now I’m sad.

Erica: Jim and Megz are safe; Moises in danger again. He is still the least sexual human being I’ve ever seen.

Edson (stage), JJ (street) & Yorelis (street): Jazz, choreo by Tovaris Wilson

“Restart” by Sam Smith

Kate: I kind of wanted this whole season to be choreographed to only Sam Smith songs, until I saw this.

Erica:  Was it me or were the girls failing at being sharp the way that hip-hop dancers should be?

Kate: I still adore Sam Smith, but this was horrible. The routines are getting worse as the night goes on.

Erica: This was very strangely awkward. It even sounded like the audience was, like, trying to find moments to be encouraging.

Kate: They had no chemistry together, were not dancing together, and just looked all around bad. Edson especially. Dammit!

Erica: I am kind of blaming the choreographers tonight. None of them seemed to have brought their A game. Edson is in danger and the girls are safe.

Asaf (street) & Marissa (stage): Club Cha-Cha, choreo by Jean Marc Genereux

“+1” by Martin Solveig feat. Sam White

Kate: How does “Club” Cha-Cha differ from regular?

Erica: Who the f knows. This is the kind of thing I wish they would go into more detail on. Use the opportunity to educate the public, you know?

Kate: Marissa is smokin’ hot and this would have been dynamite with her and a real ballroom dancer. Alas, she got Asaf instead.

Erica: I think it’s time for my annual “I miss Pasha!” call.

Kate: He had absolutely no rhythm or swag and didn’t do anything he was supposed to do with his hips. He missed a lot of connections and all of their lifts were shaky and they missed some moves entirely.

Erica: Yeah. She was working her ass off to make him look good. If you knew anything about partnering, Asaf-who-is-not-Pasha, you’d know that that’s your job.

Kate: I feel like Marissa has a lot of talent but keeps getting the short end of the stick. I hope she gets the chance to shine more in the weeks to come.

Erica: Me, too.

Kate: I also feel like Nigel insulted Jean Marc a little bit with the talk about the Cha-Cha? He certainly looked offended.

Erica: I mean, honestly, in this case, I thought this was mostly Asaf’s fault, not Jean Marc’s, but I’d rather Nigel blame choreographers when they deserve it rather than feel the choreographers are untouchable.

Kate: In this case it was 1,000,000% Asaf’s fault.

Erica: Nigel going on about butterflies was pretty weird. Caterpillars may all become butterflies, but most of these kids are going to leave the show. Be snuffed out in their cocoons, as it were, rather than make it to the butterfly stage. Asaf may very well be out tonight, because he’s in danger (Marissa’s not), and the judges sure as hell aren’t going to save him.

Ariana (street), Burim (street) & Gaby (stage): African Jazz, choreo by Sean Cheesman

“Gorilla” by Lord KraVen

Kate: Ooooooh this was so cool.

Erica: Yeah, I liked this. Sean Cheesman and his pecs still kind of scare me, but he choreographs some very cool African Jazz routines.

Kate: The girls were obviously better than Burim — I’m ready for him to leave — and each one was a tad bit off from the other because of how fast it was, but it was just such a cool routine. I want to learn it.

Erica: The girls are insanely better. Also — I mean, this show could be a study in gendered expectations of work. Can you imagine if a girl needed this constant “You’re working so hard! You’re doing better!” nonsense? Have we ever had a girl in any season that got as much hand-holding and head-patting as Burim and Asaf are getting? As many other boys have gotten before them? Talk about women being 100% responsible for all of the emotional work.

Kate: The girls’ lift was crazy. Gaby is my definite favorite and I want her to win, as of this moment. She is certainly the most versatile.

Erica: She was really a beast for this number. Ariana and Burim are in danger. What are people not seeing in Ariana? I like her so much.

Kate (stage) & Neptune (street): Contemporary, choreo by Justin Giles

“Promise” by Ben Howard

Kate: New choreographer? We like?

Erica: I really, really did. I hope to see more of him. I thought this was mature and interesting. I liked that, as opposed to the Stacey Tookey routine, he just said, “He has a dangerous job,” without telling us what it was, because we don’t really need to know. And that moment when her head flopped onto his chest, I started crying.

Kate: This was refreshingly good. I’m glad I saw something from him as I had started to write him off, and I hope everyone else comes around to my way of thinking about Kate now. She is so talented.

Erica: Yeah, I think this was the first time I saw why he was in this contest. He was excellent. So was she.

Kate: She is also my definite favorite, and I also want her to win as of this moment.

Erica: Heehee. BTW, I don’t believe that there were a lot of write-ins in the first season complaining about black and white people dancing together, as Nigel claimed. Or at least, I don’t believe there were more than there are now. I think the number of old-fashioned, racist psychos has stayed roughly the same, and even gotten more vocal in the last decade. Also I don’t believe that that many racist, old-fashioned psychos watch this show.

Kate: Yeah that was a SUPER weird comment from Nigel.

Erica: Kate’s in danger. The judges, I think, will save her.

Hailee (stage) & Virgil (street): Hip-Hop, choreo by Pharside & Phoenix

“Runnin’” by Noahplause


Kate: WAY way way way WAYYYY better than the first hip-hop routine. WAY.

Erica: Can we talk about what an interesting and gorgeous face Hailee has?

Kate: V. impressed. Go Hailee!

Erica: He and Jim (and now maybe Neptune) are the three boys worth watching so far. This was super fun and cute. And they stayed in character for the judging and results (they’re both safe because duh) and it was adorable.

Kate: Wholeheartedly agree.

Erica: The judges — Nigel, if SYTYCD has an anniversary episode 20 years from now, it will be the 30th anniversary show. Not the 20th. Because you just had your 10th. And the Paula accidentally saying “package” thing was not that funny; it does not need a callback. Paula, they were robots. Not aliens. (Right?)

Kate: Right.

Team Stage: Contemporary, choreo by Jaci Royal

“For My Help” by Hayden Calnin

Kate: Another new choreographer? We also like?

Erica: Really a whole lot. I love it when the dances feel like an organic whole, you know? Not a series of tricks and moments. Amazing.

Kate: This was definitely the best Team Stage routine to date. The only thing that didn’t work for me was the lifting sequence — all these guys need way more partner practice!!!

Erica: The girls are just killing it this season. Every season, it feels like the girls’ talent pool is deeper, but this season more than any other.

Team Street: Hip-Hop, choreo by Marty Kudelka

“Break Ya Neck” by Busta Rhymes

Kate: Really great routine for all of them, played to all of their strengths and you could tell how excited they all were to do it. Everything in this routine seemed to come very easy and naturally to them.

Erica: I really loved Twitch explaining what “O.G.” means. I thought this routine was cool, but it also showed that Team Street — even the girls, to some degree — are better individual dancers than they are at working as a group. It was clear that they enjoyed doing this routine, though.

Kate: And Burim is going home, as deserved, although I don’t like what they are doing with Asaf here, and so is Moises. Bye-bye.

Erica: So this week, the two girls in danger are saved by Twitter, and two boys leave, and we now have an uneven number of boys and girls. I approve of this, as the girls are simply better. So join us next week, for more dance and gender analysis. Later, guys!


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