Like American Idol during its Vegas week(s), So You Think You Can Dance‘s semifinal excursions to Sin City are treated as quaint, host-narrated docudramas. And frankly? It couldn’t be any better. Vegas week is always compelling, even if we spend too much time following around middle-of-the-pack dancers who keep earning flak from the judges. But remember: Flak is entertaining, and it turns statuesque ballerinas into crying piles of blubberiness. In fact, this section of the series could be spun off into a grueling Olympic event called The Cryathlon, because my god, the tears. They were everywhere last night. And sometimes they were hilarious.
With that, let’s take a break from the exceptional dancing and sort through the funnier stuff from last night’s telecast. Remember when Mary Murphy growled at Alexa Anderson and sounded like Janis Joplin struggling to sing “Piece of My Heart” while eating a ham and cocaine sandwich? We’ll get to that.
1. Amelia Rowe: a handful of cliches that makes Adam Shankman cry
Amelia Rowe looks like Judy Davis starring in a TV biopic of Louise Brooks, and I can support that. What I can’t really get behind is Adam Shankman‘s abruptly hysterical reception of Amelia’s last-minute dance for her life. Though the judges routinely mock contestants who make reaching gestures with their hands during performances to indicate longing, apparently they didn’t mind it coming from Amelia, whose dancing was superb, but whose choreography and “whimsical” mugging were badly cliched. And yet, it took about six bars of Amelia’s dance music, the opening strings from To Kill a Mockbingbird, to reduce Adam to tears. I hate instantaneous crying. There’s nothing you can do about it. I’m glad Amelia is threw, but Adam’s weeping made her achievements seem a little loftier than they actually were.
2. Did I mention that the judges traumatized Alexa Anderson?
With so much choreography squeezed into last night’s show, it’s difficult to tell how harshly the judges graded all the contestants. One thing’s for sure: The judges thought Alexa Anderson was a dead-faced poseur who deserved to hear how horribly dead-faced she was, more than once. Said Adam Shankman (and I’m paraphrasing), “You’re a good dancer, but I want to eliminate you because your face is so dead. It is A POSTMORTEM FACE, Alexa. R.I.P YOUR FACE. When you were up there kicking and jiving, I took ONE LOOK AT YOUR FACE and wondered if maggots were going to start crawling out of your dead skull. Really, you were that dead. So dead. I wish you were dead. There. I said it. I dead it.” And the judges didn’t stop there! Mary Murphy yapped, “YA HAFTA WANT IT” at Alexa. Right. True. Later, Tyce Diorio called Alexa emotionless, and she cried onstage. The judges just sat there and muttered, “There you go” as she cried, like the whole goal of the show was to cry on TV. Pretty baffling and funny. And not just because angry Mary Murphy looks like a cross between Charles Laughton, Snooki, and a sea lion. Look ‘em up.
3. Hey, guys: What was this?
This girl’s name was Rachel Appelhans, but her birth certificate reads “Crazed Alicia Silverstone Doppelganger” because look at her. After being told to “dance for her life” in one of the audition’s suddden death rounds, Rachel returned to her favorite shtick: rolling around on the floor in a men’s shirt. The judges finally eliminated her, but how could they have accepted her in the first place? She’s about as graceful as a Silverstone movie like Excess Baggage, say. She just had neither the control nor stamina of her colleagues, but I suspect Nigel didn’t boot her earlier because she has kissable orange breasts.
4. Photo: Sonya Tayeh IS PLEASED, MADAME.
One final note: Tonya’s eyebrows are so extreme and possibly offensive, I wonder if she’s being played by Peter Sellers in a cheap ’70s comedy.
What were your favorite moments from last night? Any particular numbers?