“So You Think You Can Dance” Top 16: Red Hot Chili Pantsuits

Get this, I loved last night’s spectacular, versatile episode of So You Think You Can Dance, even though I disagree with the judges about three key elements: I don’t cry when Whitney Houston‘s “I Will Always Love You” comes on, I hate hip-hop routines about babies, and I think bright red pantsuits should be worn only by the Kool-Aid Man’s elder aunts. You’ll see why these are important truths momentarily.

We dropped from 16 competitiors to 14 last night, and I’m pretty homicidal about the outcome. You too? Fine. Let’s rank these performances and cartwheel back to sanity.

8. Tiffany and George

Consider it tragic foreshadowing that I wrote about Rugrats yesterday, because this hip-hop baby routine was pretty much a Tommy Pickles dirty diaper dance set to a radio beat. And man, the set’s garish Crayola Washables color scheme was no help. This is the second week in a row where the leading routine of the night was a hokey, literal, and gross display of cartoonish thrusts, and worse, it wasn’t even all that memorable. The talented Tiffany certainly jutted for her life, flung stank around the room, and got nasty on cue, but she couldn’t outclass the lame choreography. George, meanwhile, wasn’t even expressive enough to warrant consideration. His face was blank, and his stank was stunkless. (Or something.) I’d worry about these gyrating infants next week.

7. Audrey and Matthew

First of all, I’d like to extend a giant “Yikes” to those heinous, Robert Palmer-video-lipstick red outfits. Audrey and Matthew looked like two old wounds out there, dappled with just a touch of Neosporin. Next, I’d like to groan for about a year, because that was one of the slowest and most sluggish salsas I’ve seen on this show. Naturally part of the problem is the choreography, which was at once too simplistic (Am I wrong, or did Matthew do almost nothing here?) and too kitschy. (The swivel-up tornado? That occurred at about 3 mph. You could stroll away from that tornado and not jeopardize your expensive assets.) They’ll have to survive this vote based on likability alone, because nothing onscreen felt virtuosic or true to their exceptional talents.

6. Janelle and Dareian

“Call Me Maybe” is still the whitest song of 2012, but I’ll give the flirty Janelle and the drop-dead sexy Dareian credit for proving that the summer jam is indeed danceable. This cha-cha-cha was about as traditional as anything you’d see on Dancing With the Stars (which makes me want to sexually punish choreographer Pasha Kovalev, who is perhaps the sexiest living organism aside from Anthony Perkins, whose bones I reanimated in 2007), but the beaming duo got airborne with some of those impressive, twisty lifts. I concur with Mary Murphy that the couple’s lines and transitions were awkward, though I’m (sadly?) a bigger fan of electricity than technicality, so for me, it wasn’t a failure. Carly Rae Jepsen, I am still on the fence about you, girl.

5. Amber and Brandon

Hope you hate justice, because these two sultry dynamos were both sent home this week. Fuuuuuurious.Amber and Brandon squirmed with the sweaty, chair-humpy passion of a hundred backup dancers from Paula Abdul’s “Cold Hearted” video, and you know I juke in approval at that. Ray Leeper’s choreography pretty much combined writhing and wrestling, and that kind of sexuality is rarely seen on network TV. I guess the finest compliment I can give is that Amber and Brandon showed us exactly what we’ll be missing without them, and that’s sharp, libidinous theatricality.

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