SYTYCD Season 12 – Top Eighteen Perform; Two Are Eliminated

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 1000000% 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) & Gabi (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. Gabi 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 am 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 twenty years from now, it will be the thirtieth anniversary show. Not the twentieth. Because you just had your tenth. 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 OG 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. Byebye.

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!

SYTYCD Season 12 – Top Twenty Perform; Two Are Eliminated

Erica: So something is becoming clear to me. They’re not partnering traditionally because we’re voting off one street and one stage dancer, not one boy and one girl. This is a move of which I heartily approve, because for a few seasons now, we’ve been very much feeling that the girls overall are better than the boys overall, and yet not-so-great boys have been staying while better girls have been packed off.

Kate: I also think I was wrong about them not learning other styles, and thank goodness because that is truly the heart of this show.

Erica: Anyway, to business:

Group Routine: Hip-Hop, choreo by Pharside & Phoenix

“Baila Como Yo” by District 78

Erica: So this was pretty weird. For those of you who read these recaps but don’t watch the show, first, why?, and second, thank you, and finally, let me explain what was happening on stage to the best of my ability. Which will be pretty poor, because I have very little dance or music vocabulary. So the guys are all in mariachi costumes and the girls are all in Latin ballroom dresses and everyone’s got their faces painted like those fancy Mexican skulls but the song is hip-hop but that sort of Latin-influenced hip-hop which I’m sure has a name. And they dance hip-hop and roughly half the dance is stupid and sloppy and the random flailing of arms looks a lot less cool than I think we’re supposed to think they are. And then there are some cute tricks, like when one of the guys flips through the held-out-in-a-circle arms of another. And the boys slide off the stage into the audience, which is always a crowd-pleaser. And then half the dance is actually really cool-looking and utilizes the group dynamic really well. I’d say more of the first half of the dance was stupid and sloppy-looking, whereas more of the second half of the dance was cool and interesting. But there was a mish mosh, really.

Kate: They were dressed as that Dia de los Muertos thing, which I am SO over. The girls looked sharp in the beginning but the rest was pretty messy. The boys just have no star power.

Cat Deeley’s Outfit

Erica: This is a no from me.

Kate: Too 80s cocktail party. Not v. flattering.

Erica: The dress conceptually is fine but looks ill-made. And I strongly feel that Cat’s hair should always be down unless there’s a really, really good reason to put it up, and this dress was not a good enough reason for me. And I do not like pink (her jewelry) with red (her dress) unless they’re really made to work well together, which these are not.

Kate: Yes, pink earrings with red dress = BIG NO. Red shoes too matchy-matchy.

Erica: PS. Do not Travis and tWitch look ridiculously happy to be doing this?

Kate: I mean, wouldn’t you be?

Erica: Yes. And we’re doing something about the 10 years of SYTYCD and all the Emmy nominations they’ve gotten. Good job, guys.


Erica: Seriously, guys. It’s time to bring Mary Murphy back. Also Nigel has some sort of honor from Britain. Order of Merlin, First Class? Something like that.

Kate: I now understand that reference! 🙂

Erica: YAYAYAYAYAY! So now there will be three street and three stage dancers in danger. YOUR TWEETS can save one street and one stage dancer; the judges will save one street and one stage dancer, and then the last two get the boot.

Darion (stage), Hailee (stage) & Yorelis (street): Salsa, choreo by Jonathan & Oksana

“Blucutu” by Saamara

Erica: I am a fan of trio ballroom. Just, as a general rule. Also I am becoming a fan of Hailee. Who is gamely wearing the same outfit that she wore last week.

Kate: Yes, I love her.

Erica: The girls were definitely more impressive than the boy. I liked Hailee best but Yorelis may be one to watch out for, too.

Kate: Me too, but Darion effing up that lift ruined Hailee’s mojo a little.

Erica: Overall, I liked it, but there were points at which the tricks just weren’t working that well. Even the cool one they teased during the rehearsal footage, where Darion leaps over Yorelis and sort of lands on Hailee looked a bit belabored. And one of the lifts the judges called out for being disastrous but I’m not exactly sure which one.

Kate: The one I just mentioned.

Erica: Oh, and Cat’s giving results throughout, so Darion’s in danger, but both girls are fine.

Ariana (street) & Derek (stage): Jazz, choreo by Ray Leeper

“Cry Me a River” by Michael Buble

Erica: So, Ray Leeper said that this was about two people experiencing grief and loss together. But I really felt that the sharpness of the choreography and the costumes and makeup (face paint tears) made sort of a joke of grief. Maybe it’s just because we as a family have been through a lot and I don’t feel very ready to laugh about grief.

Kate: I just didn’t think they were very sharp, even stagey Derek in some parts. Two all-stars would have killed this routine.

Erica: I mean, the choreography was cool and I thought they danced it very well. I was just set up for one thing and ended up comparing what happened on stage to that thing and being disappointed. Well, they danced it well, but their movements didn’t really match. She was much more flowy and he was much bigger. I mean, his movements were much bigger.

Kate: She was not good at all toward the end, seemed to give up on the movement.

Erica: Every time Paula Abdul said “I really do,” I thought she meant, you know, “Bless your heart.” And Nigel of course had to be all “Ariana, you’re brown and yet you can dance like white people!”

Kate: Oh, I’m shocked that Jason DeRulo wants to mirror what Paula said!

Erica: They are both in danger, btw. And I am saying nothing at all about the Degree infomercial in the middle of this.

Alexa (stage), Megz (street) & Virgil (street): Contemporary, choreo by Dee Caspary

“Until We Go Down” by Ruelle

Erica: So these three I thought were amazingly in sync. And I really liked the choreography. I’ve liked Dee Caspary before, so I wasn’t surprised, but I thought this was pretty neat. And Virgil had amazing chemistry with his two female partners last week, too. I think he’s in the top for boys.

Kate: How could you tell they were in sync when they were constantly doing different choreography? I definitely felt the emotion and energy and saw a good deal of skill but as a whole something was just off for me.

Erica: Because they appeared to be dancing like each other, if that makes any sense. Like they were part of a cohesive whole. Nigel speaks out against his haters. You do you, Nigel.

Kate: Always.

Erica: All three of these guys are safe. Ryan Seacrest has a new show. He goes trick or treating with Ariana Grande? I don’t know what’s happening. I don’t care.

Burim (street), Edson (stage), Gaby (stage) & Lily (street): Bollywood, choreo by Dev Nahul Mahajan

“Dhol Bhaje” from the Ek Paneli Leela soundtrack

Erica: So that was super-fun and adorable.

Kate: I love Bollywood so much. I’d love to learn a routine.

Erica: I thought they were all very sharp and precise. I mean, I’m sure people who’ve spent their lives practicing this style are better. But I thought they were really pretty great. They definitely embraced the spirit of the dance.

Kate: No, Burim was horrible. Absolutely zero sharpness. The other three were as good as non-professional Bollywood dancers can be.

Erica: If you say so. Lily is in danger. The other three are fine.

Asaf (street), Kate (stage) & Neptune (street): Broadway, choreo by Spencer Liff

“All About That Bass” by Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox feat. Kate Davis

Erica: You’re so right; Asaf has a terrible attitude. Oh, my God, I would cry if I was getting this dressing-down from tWitch. I mean, tWitch is 100% right to be giving it. But I would cry.

Kate: I am just not a fan of them focusing on developing his character throughout the season. All I care about is if he’s a good dancer.

Erica: So I think Kate is a star and I really liked this routine. I thought Neptune was a little too loose, and didn’t hit all his cues, and Asaf looked very uncomfortable in his suit. And the thing is, the routine was super cute. But only Kate was really selling it.

Kate: We disagree on this one — this had the potential to be great, but the three did not vibe off each other and Kate seemed a little dead inside. I disagreed with the judges about her wholeheartedly last week, but this week I saw it — she has amazing technique but no pizzazz. She needs to pull that out quick or she’s going home.

Erica: Neptune is in danger; Kate and Asaf are safe. Asaf should thank his lucky stars and cute face; I think the judges would give him the boot if they could.

JaJa (street) & Jim (stage): Hip-Hop, choreo by Christopher Scott

“No Woman No Cry (Live)” by Bob Marley and the Wailers

Erica: tWitch promised us a “staple of the season” and I gotta say, I don’t think he’s wrong. Both of them gave great performances. Both of them were incredibly in sync. The choreography was fantastic and really utilized hip-hop dance with a slow reggae ballad. And they danced like it really was a perfect fusion of ballet and hip-hop — not piecemeal fusion, like, oh, this move looks hip-hop and this move looks ballet and we put them both in this dance, but a genuine fusion. I’m really, really impressed.

Kate: Well, Jim is 10000% Alex Wong part two. This was amazing and definitely my favorite so far, except for the music. I love that song but it really threw me off as a hip-hop dance song. Their movements were absolutely perfect together.

Erica: Nigel is getting all emotional about how this dance is basically the apotheosis of this show and I can’t even make fun of him. Because he’s not wrong.

Kate: But like, why so emotional Nigel? Crying???

Erica: But seriously though. Paula and Jason are contributing absolutely zero in terms of critique. They are just empty bodies making mouth noises. Where is Mary Murphy? Nigel, what did you do to her? Can we have Christina Applegate as a permanent judge? What’s she up to? What about Adam Shankman? I like him better as a choreographer than as a judge, but I’ll take him. Hell, I’d take Li’l C at this point. At least he has, like, a distinct personality.

Kate: At this point I’ll even take Mia Michaels.

Erica: They’re both safe, by the way.

JJ (street), Marissa (stage) & Moises (stage): Jazz, choreo by Ray Leeper

“I’m So Sorry” by Imagine Dragons

Erica: Oh my goodness Moises is giving off the least sexual energy of anyone I’ve ever seen ever.

Kate: Again, this had so much potential to be good, but even the girls let me down here. They were not nearly fierce enough, smiles or not.

Erica: “Marissa, we gave you a super-sexy number but you were too sexy in it. So please be less sexy the next time we have you dance in black lingerie. Okay?” By the way does she not occasionally look like Sophia Bush?

Kate: Yes she does.

Erica: First of all, I thought Marissa was the one to watch in this piece. No one else had her stage presence.

Kate: I feel like the judges got in her head about the sexy thing and she held back too much in this, but she was better than the other two.

Erica: That said, I didn’t love this number. I thought the choreography was not that interesting and followed this very frequent “sexy pissed woman” thing. And they gave Moises jetes because he can do jetes, not because they made any damn sense.

Kate: And they also taught Jason DeRulo to say “jetes”.

Erica: Then the judges talk a bunch of nonsense about their facial expressions. It’s the weirdest. “Don’t smile; smiling doesn’t make sense. Smile; don’t keep your face the same. You should smile but something else that makes no damn sense.” It’s very weird.

Kate: #Dontlistentothejudges, Marissa!

Erica: Moises is in danger. The girls are safe. And when they come back from the break we learn that Team Stage is in the lead.

Team Street: Hip-Hop, choreo by Christopher Scott & Season 5’s Phillip Chbeeb

“Time” by Nathan Lanier

Erica: I saw the seesaws and decided this was either going to be amazing or stupid as shit.

Kate: The seesaws made me very nervous, and what’s-his-name almost fell on them right in the beginning.

Erica: And can we talk about how much more focused and skilled the girls are, even just in the rehearsal footage?

Kate: Girls rule and boys drool!

Erica: I really do think Christopher Scott is pretty brilliant. The kids are in these almost steampunk suits and the music is weird and creepy and the choreo is pretty amazing. And the girls rocked it.

Kate: I liked it but not as much as last week’s Team Street routine.

Team Stage: Contemporary, choreo by Travis Wall

“Stabat Mater” by Woodkid

Erica: It’s still the girls. I think the gender divide is less obvious on Team Stage than it is on Team Street but it’s there.

Kate: Kate SHINED here. Shined. Thank goodness.

Erica: And these costumes are sort of post-apocalypse steampunk. There’s too much flailing for the cameras to keep up in a meaningful way. Which is not a criticism of the dance itself. The dance is actually pretty amazing. The sort of contrast between sharp and flowing movements and the organic togetherness of the group is, you know, cool.

Kate: The costumes reminded me of a Covet style challenge.

Erica: So just for the record, of the six on the bottom, four are guys and two are girls. Twitter has saved Neptune and Moises. Oy. Neptune I can see has some potential, but Moises? I don’t know, man. Lily is working so hard not to freak out on stage. And then some very weird thing happens with the cameras — we see a staged shot of Team Stage, and then we’re out and up on the stage with a strange voice that’s probably someone in the control room, and then we’re out to commercial. Weird.

Kate: Yeah, Fox effed up a little. And I did not think Lily deserved to go home.

Erica: The judges are saving Derek, who I’d swear on my life I’d never seen before except obviously I just watched him in this show, and Ariana, a decision I support. So, goodbye Darion, I hardly knew ye, and goodbye Lily, I don’t think I much liked you.

Kate: They’re doing a special show tomorrow to celebrate 10 glorious years of this fabulous show, but we are only watching not blogging. We’re back next Tuesday after the Top 18 perform and two more are eliminated!

SYTYCD Season 12 – Top Twenty Perform

Kate (pretending to be Cat Deeley): WELCOME to SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE, SEASON 12!

Erica: OMG you guys I’m so excited.

Kate: Let’s recap for our readers, especially those who (like you, Er) missed auditions and Vegas: This season, since no season can be the same anymore, they are doing the top 10 “street” dancers versus the top 10 “stage” dancers, which really means hip-hop/krumping/popping/locking vs. ballet/contemporary/ballroom. Street’s “captain” is Twitch, yum, and Stage’s captain is Travis Wall, also yum.

Erica: So I’m pretty sure I just saw Travis walk into a dance studio with the 10 stage dancers, and then Twitch let the street dancers out of a cage. And then they put them back in. That’s something that just happened? I’m not hallucinating? You know, I knew this whole stage/street thing was going to be an excuse to be even more racist/classist than usual, and I was right.

Kate: Also, just to continue the recap, we desperately miss Mary Murphy, as Paula Abdul can barely clap her hands and string two sentences together let alone judge a dance competition. And if you thought Lil’ C was the worst male commentator of all time, you are sorely mistaken; that title now belongs to Jason DeRulo. Worst.

Erica: Jason DeRulo is one of those people towards whom I just have an “uch” reaction. I don’t know anything about him personally, but every time I see his face or hear his voice, I’m like, “Do not want. Do not want!” I feel the same way about Sienna Miller and Kirstie Alley.

Cat Deeley’s Outfit

Kate: How very architectural.

Erica: That is not for me. It looks like she already had a wardrobe malfunction and they were like, “Okay, let’s just throw this white piece of cloth we had lying around the costume shop over her black tube bra thing and it’ll be fine.”

Kate: I’m a fan, it just looks quite uncomfortable. And she is keeping her arms very close to her body, which makes me think she is actually scared of a malfunction.

Group Routine: Stage & Street, choreo by Christopher Scott & Jessica Lee Keller

“Revolt” by Nathan Lanier

Kate: This was not at all sharp enough for me. Especially the guys.

Erica: You are right. And it was really just a big mish mosh. An impression not helped by the super-swirly cameras.

Kate: It just looked to me like they didn’t have enough time to practice, but it may also have been sloppy choreography. Have we ever seen this Jessica Lee Keller before?

Erica: Not in my memory. I think in this instance it was both. The choreography wasn’t really doing anything, and the dancing did appear somewhat tired and off.

Street Routine 1 (JJ, Megz & Neptune): Hip-hop, choreo by Dave Scott

“The Illest” by Far East Movement feat. Riff Raff

Kate: Also not clean enough for me, especially Neptune.

Erica: Yeah, Neptune is not as good as the two girls here. He looks sloppy. It’s weird that Dave Scott was like, “I want to bring out his personality,” and then Nigel said the same thing, and all I see from him is personality. Not, like, technique.

Kate: I do really like JJ, though; during auditions and Vegas she had this extra jazzy little hip-hop flavor which made her stand out from the rest. I think that worked well for her in this routine, but she still has some work to do.

Erica: I really liked JJ. I can’t wait to see her ballroom. It’ll be interesting. Megz will be interesting, too. But JJ was the one drawing my eyes.

Stage Routine 1 (Derek, Gaby & Moises): Contemporary, choreo by Stacey Tookey

“Luminous” by Max Richter

Kate: Gorgeous. Beautifully synchronized lines all over the place. MUCH better than the first two. Want her dress.

Erica: Did someone walk in front of the camera for a second there?

Kate: Holy cow, I forgot that Gaby is a tap dancer! Oh she’s already a frontrunner, fo sho.

Erica: Her feet are amazing. I mean, as if I know anything, but they looked amazing to me. And this was a very pretty routine. I really like Stacey Tookey. She’s like a soothing balm.

Street Routine 2 (Asaf, Burim, Jaja & Lily): Hip-hop, choreo by Christopher Scott

“Easy” by Son Lux feat. Lorde

Kate: This group was much stronger than the first, for the most part, but I think the choreography played more to their individual strengths.

Erica: Okay, so I think Asaf is my dude this season.

Kate: NO WAY. He had MAJOR attitude in Vegas, he needs to check that before he gets a fan out of me. I’m not sure how I feel about him coming in at the last minute after someone else got hurt. I also don’t know how I feel about Jaja coming back, I didn’t love her during last year’s auditions.

Erica: Oh, he did? That’s a shame. He’s super-cute. Also, holy moly, those girls have ABS. I really loved the choreography on this one. And they kept up with it, so go, them.

Kate: …Did Nigel just say “shalom” to the Israeli guy? Is that offensive?

Erica: I mean, it is Nigel. So let’s go with “yes.” Even though I can’t actually come up with a reason why.

Stage Routine 2 (Alexia, Hailee & Marissa): Jazz, choreo by Brian Friedman

“New Dorp. New York” by SBTRKT feat. Ezra Koenig

Kate: “Women can be strong and women can be dominant” …while dressed like actual whores, eh, Brian Friedman?

Erica: I’m getting into your head! You’re caring about things like this! I love it.

Kate: Theme/message/costume aside, these three were great together. I like the first stage routine better as a whole, but Hailee is super fun to watch. It makes sense that she was front and center most of the time.

Erica: I thought it was mostly awesome, although there were a few moments here and there that they looked like, “Oh, we’re supposed to be here right now.” But overall I really liked the routine and the three of them. I’d love to see the three of them dance together more often.

Kate: …Did Nigel just say it was TOO sexy? Did hell freeze over?

Erica: That was a pretty weird comment, that they weren’t subtle and sly enough, that they were too overt about the sexuality in a dance where they were all wearing black underwear. And then Paula and Jason agreed. I actually thought their performance was about the right level of sexy. I mean, if you want dancers who can do subtle, sophisticated, mature sexy, then why do you keep pulling eighteen-year-olds into the competition?


Stage Routine 3 (Darion & Jim): Ballet, choreo by Benoit-Swan Pouffer

“Blood and Stone” by Audiomachine

Kate: I have to agree with Nigel in the most non-racist way possible: Jim does remind me a lot of Alex Wong. He’s incredible. I hope he does an amazing hip-hop routine with Twitch too…Hey let’s watch that dance for the 100th time!

Erica: It’s not an SYTYCD season until we link to that routine, people.

Kate: I think Darion was messing up a little, though, or the two of them were just not in sync a lot. They could both use more practice partnering.

Erica: I just couldn’t take my eyes off their thighs. And I don’t mean that in a gross way. I just have some much respect and awe for these dancers, for the kind of discipline they’ve applied to be able to move like this.

Kate: Also, could he have picked a worse song for ballet? Ew.

Erica: Oh, I thought it was fine. But Paula? It’s not the first time SYTYCD has had two ballet boys.


Erica: Daniel and Chehon, Season 9, remember? And I kind of thought their costumes were cool.

Street Routine 3 (Ariana, Virgil & Yorelis): Hip-Hop, choreo by Pharside & Phoenix

“Locked out of Heaven” by Bruno Mars

Kate: Oooooh very strong, these three have great chemistry together. This is my favorite of the night, despite the song (artist) choice!

Erica: This was so silly and cute and, yes, the three of them appeared to be, like, three friends in a Disney channel movie who were having a sleepover and broke out into a dance break. I pretty much loved it. On the subject of Bruno Mars — I was kind of convinced that this was an actual ’80s song I’d heard a million times before, and then, no, it’s Bruno Mars, which means that he is achieving what he sets out to achieve. I don’t love his voice, and you don’t love his personal history, but I respect his ability to fulfill his ambitions.

Kate: They missed a few transitions and were off a few times, but for the most part they were really great to watch. Yay #TeamStreet!

Erica: I think Nigel imitating Jason DeRulo was more offensive than him saying “Shalom” to Asaf. You know, if we’re keeping score.

Stage Routine 4 (Edson & Kate): Contemporary, choreo by Travis Wall

“Shaped like a Gun” by Tailor

Kate: Ooooh I love destructive relationship routines. So much angst.

Erica: She was so smooth. And he was so strong. This was so pretty.

Kate: May have to change my previous statement about Street Routine 3 being my favorite, as this blew me right the f away. This is a routine we’d usually see in, like, the top 8. Brilliant, absolutely perfect, wholeheartedly disagree with the judges, ⅔ of whom I am probably more qualified to judge than.

Erica: I mean, Travis, man. Travis. I sort of see what Nigel was saying about the performance. But the dancing was so amazing that I didn’t care that much.

Kate: If this show is just turning into a platform for Jason DeRulo performances, I’m going to be very angry. I’M STILL GOING TO WATCH, but I’m going to be very angry about it.

Erica: I love Tivo. That is all.

Team Stage Routine: Broadway, choreo by Warren Carlyle

“Body Language” by Queen


Erica: And? Were you better than them?

Kate: Probably not. They were a little shaky, especially with the props. I’m tellin’ you, as a whole, Team Street is stronger than Team Stage. Gaby and Hailee are the most fun to watch of this group, I hope they go far.

Erica: I thought it was pretty adorable. I mean, you’ve got a choreographer who says, “I want to do it like Fosse but a little more modern,” I’m there. And then set it to the same song that Pasha and Sara did their adorable suspenders routine to? Yes. This is Erica candy. I think it’s mostly that the girls are standing out, on both teams, not that Street is better than Stage. But we’ll see.

Team Street Routine: Hip-hop, choreo by NappyTabs

“Ready Or Not Here I Come” by District 78 feat. Cheesa


Erica: Okay, I think we’re both right. Street is superior to Stage (maybe), AND the girls are better than the boys.

Kate: I’m cool with that. They were so together and so energetic, I really love this group. JJ stands out for me a lot.

Erica: I think she stands out for the choreographers, too. I mean this was pretty much fun, like NappyTabs routines tend to be. I actually thought in some places they were not as together as I would have liked, but I still enjoyed the routine, and their personalities.

Kate: That’s all folks, tune in next week for the first eliminations/top 18 perform! …Hold on, Cat said “new groups”. Are there no partners AT ALL this season???????

Erica: I don’t know that I’m against that. I enjoy the group routines and the choreographical creativity that comes from not just putting them in boy-girl pairs.

Kate: Ok, I just have no idea what’s going on this season. I also think the teams will never have to learn the other teams’ styles, which I am even more against, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see!