“So You Think You Can Dance” Top 18: Bollywood, Bellhops, And Boys

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Before we begin, an urgent concern: Should we be thrilled or a little depressed that Christina Applegate ranks among the best SYTYCD guest judges? Yeah, she’s not flawless — she’s a little cloying in her abject praise and teary-eyed awe — but the woman knows her vocabulary, connects individually with contestants, wears a Mexi-print top like your favorite aunt, remembers past routines without hesitation, and doesn’t mind being critical. Can’t say the same about Kenny Ortega, y’all. And he directed High School Musical 3 and Hocus Pocus, those true choreographed miracles.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: There are too many damn contestants at this stage of the game. I can’t separate my Jades from my Jennas, my Mariahs from my Maleces. They’re all twirling, hard-smiling pageant droids to me right now, and you know what? It’s too damn hot out to remember everyone. I can’t be bothered to recall who “Tucker” is when the weather outside my apartment is performing a horrifying tribute to the Do The Right Thing heatwave. Get the ice cubes, Mookie, because I’m going to die of exhaustion and embarrassment if Nigel keeps leering at every nameless contestant in Danskin.

Weirder yet, Tuesday’s episode introduced a new twist that made me gag and cry. The week’s eliminated contestants were jettisoned at the beginning of the show, as opposed to the end. This didn’t strike me as too terrible an idea until I realized, oh, yeah, the eliminated contestants still have to perform with their un-eliminated partners. Who OK’d this? Was it that sneering slickster Tyce Diorio? I blame most lame things on Tyce Diorio. Unemployment. The Happy Endings cancellation. The Bhopal disaster. Whatever.

At least a few of the night’s routines were pretty solid, if not legendary. In no particular order, let’s cruise through these fast-paced, highly “multicultural” performances. And by “multicultural,” I mean, “Their costumes belonged on coke-powered extras in Michael Jackson’s ‘Black or White’ video.”

Malece & Jade: Bollywood Squares
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Unfortunately, Bollywood routines will always be hilarious. It’s not the frenetic style or gaudy costumes that makes me laugh, it’s the all-too-apparent terror in the contestants’ eyes, like they’re worried they’ll point their fingers or toes the wrong way and India will notice. Jade’s athleticism and vigor compensated for his greenness, and Malece continued to resemble a Precious Moments rendering of Linda Evangelista. That was fine, and I even reveled in her fantastic whimsy from time to time. The problem is, it’s rare that a Bollywood routine stands out among the many Bollywood routines we’ve now seen on this show, and I’m worried these talented movers weren’t memorable enough for America’s vote. Keep Lil’ Linda alive! Maybe she’ll perform a tiny version of the “Freedom ’90″ video in a pumpkin shell.

BluPrint and the eliminated Brittany: The library is open, and they’re about to get read.

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What. Was this. First of all, pairing Bjork’s “It’s Oh So Quiet” with a library-themed routine is inherently sad. Second, yiiiikes, the choreography: Call me Contrarian The Librarian, but disappearing and reappearing behind books is a little too Music Man, wouldn’t you say? The only Robert Preston reference acceptable to me is Victor/Victoria, and SYTYCD should’ve known that. But the worst part was that the very talented Brittany couldn’t soar with BluPrint, who sauntered meekly through this routine like he was avoiding broken glass. Renew that library card, Nigel Lythgoe, because BluPrint’s eviction is already overdue.

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