I hate it when reality programs pull the "no elimination" thing -- it feels like I was cheated out of the entire previous hour. But what I did appreciate about the last-minute twist Thursday night on "So You Think You Can Dance" -- no one goes home, then Billy competes next week, and two go home after that -- was the genuine shock and awe coming from the dancers and the audience. Even Cat was surprised by the judges' decision, laughingly confirming what we already knew: "We just make this show up as we go along." She's hard to rattle, too, so when it does happen we get to watch her blush a little and giggle nervously.
I like the fact that a show in its 7th season is a work-in-progress. It's good for us, the viewers, because their experimenting still results in some great dancing along the way. The soloist D.J. Smart has auditioned for "SYTYCD" before, but never quite made it on the show. I find that mind-boggling, after his jawdropper of a performance. Shackled hands, movement I've never seen another body do, and those thighs. Wow. To go from Smart's chiseled and athletic physicality to the American Ballet Theatre's pas de deux from "Don Quixote" was jarring, like going from the pool to the hot tub, or vice versa. Yuriko Kajiya was exactly what ballerinas are supposed to be, she looks exactly like they're supposed to look: like spun glass, millimeters thick, almost outside of space and time. But sweet fancy Moses, can the girl get a piece of cheesecake? I get it, ballet dancers are thin, their muscles differently developed, for the flying and the lifting and the blah blah blah. But I kept wondering which laws of physics had to be broken to keep Kajiya's head balanced on her shoulders. Freaky-bad, not freaky-good.
What I liked (or didn't): Loved Cat's outfit, straight out of an Agatha Christie novel. The group number, getting better every week. Teasing us with the results "after the break" sucks on "American Idol," and it sucks on "SYTYCD." Boo. I'd forgotten all about the Wade Robson piece with Lauren and Neil from season 3 -- I miss having Robson around all the time, even if he inserts blood curdling screams into his work. And can a contemporary dancer please-oh-please pick something upbeat to dance to during his or her solo next week? I get it, you're tortured and have beautiful lines. No more warbling balladeers.
Since I'm nostalgic for Wade Robson, I'm sharing my very favorite routine of his -- the creepy zombie-esque (Emmy winning) "Ramalama" from season 2. It was revisited on last year's 100th episode special, and Robson performed with the original dancers. Look for All-Star Allison and choreographer Travis Wall, too.